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  • Appleton, Wisconsin
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    Appleton,

    Wisconsin

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    Appleton is a city in Outagamie, Calumet, and Winnebago counties in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. One of the Fox Cities, it is situated on the Fox River, 30 miles (48 km) southwest of Green Bay and 100 miles (160 km) north of Milwaukee. Appleton is the county seat of Outagamie County. As of the 2020 Census it had a population of 75,644, making it the sixth largest city in Wisconsin. Appleton is a part of the Fox Cities metropolitan area, the third largest in the state behind Milwaukee and Madison. Appleton serves as the heart of the Fox River Valley and is home to Lawrence University, the Fox Cities Exhibition Center, Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, Fox River Mall, Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium, Appleton International Airport, and the Valley's two major hospitals: St. Elizabeth Hospital and ThedaCare Regional Medical Center–Appleton. It also hosts regional events such as Octoberfest and the Mile of Music.
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    Celebrate Labor Day with these last-minute deals

    It’s been a long, hot summer and Americans have certainly been hitting the road — according to a recent survey by TripIt, 82 percent said they’d already traveled in the last three months while 98 percent said they had plans to within the next year. If you are going to be traveling, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends not doing so unless you’re fully vaccinated, following travel health guidelines at your destination, and taking extra precautions if you haven’t been vaccinated. Play it safe — wash your hands, and wear a mask and keep your distance anytime you’re indoors or spending time with those outside your group. If you’re ready for a road trip or seeking a staycation closer to home this holiday weekend, there are still deals to be had. Here’s where to celebrate Labor Day weekend this year, with all hotels within driving distance of major U.S. cities and prices under $260 a night (based on a three-night stay from Friday, September 3, to Monday, September 6, 2021). Delaware Thanks to Southern Delaware’s Bike & Stay specials, you can spend your days cycling along scenic trails to local breweries, restaurants, distilleries and shops, and your nights at charming boutiques in Rehoboth Beach, Lewes, Milton or Dewey Beach. Mention the “Bike & Stay” package when booking through a participating hotel — paddle & stay packages are also available for those who prefer kayaking. Washington, D.C. Two popular hotels near Dupont Circle are offering summertime deals, which works out perfectly if you’re planning to be in town for DC JazzFest. The Summer of Lyle package (at Lyle) includes valet parking, daily breakfast, complimentary welcome drinks and soft serve ice cream, with rates from $246 a night over Labor Day weekend. Nearby, The Ven at Embassy Row’s Soak Up the Sun package gives you two signature cocktails, sunscreen, koozies and access to a viewing of the film “Dodgeball” as part of the hotel’s rooftop movie program, from $249 a night. Virginia Unwind in style with Colonial Williamsburg Resorts’ Spa Escape Package, which, from $254 a night, includes overnight accommodations, two tickets to Colonial Williamsburg’s museums and historical exhibits, up to $350 in resort outlet coupons, and your choice of a 50-minute massage or a 50-minute facial. In southern Virginia, The Bristol Hotel has packages from $245 a night including daily breakfast at Vivian’s Table (the golf package also throws in two Turtleson golf shirts and tee time at a local 18-hole luxury golf course), while business travelers can save with rates from $189 a night and daily breakfast. South Carolina While nightly rates at The Caravelle Resort start at an affordable $145 over the holiday weekend, families with flexible travel dates can save more on a Myrtle Beach trip by staying Sunday through Thursday, when prices shrink to $65 a night. Tennessee In Memphis, the Somewhere Your Summer Deserves package at the Hu Hotel, available now through September 30, 2021, gives you daily breakfast at Lucy’s Café and 20 percent off stays of at least two nights, bringing starting rates over Labor Day weekend down to $252 a night. Mississippi Not all heroes wear capes. In Gulfport’s Centennial Plaza complex, the Grand Centennial Hotel is honoring all teachers, healthcare workers, police officers, firefighters, AMR ambulance and military personnel with a 10 percent hero discount, meaning Labor Day weekend rates start at $207 a night (starting rates for everyone else start at $229 a night). Spend some time relaxing on the beach — if you can tear yourself away from the lazy river, slides, pools, and dancing fountain. Ohio Moxy Columbus Short North is offering rates from $146 a night when you book five or more nights, so spending an extra-long weekend from Thursday, September 2 to Tuesday, September 7, could be a great staycation option. The Moxy is pet friendly, too, so you can take the whole family along, including your beloved fur baby. Indiana Vera Bradley fans, rejoice! Just opened in July 2021, The Bradley in Fort Wayne offers a chic Midwestern staycation option about a two-hour drive from Indianapolis or a 2.5-hour drive from Detroit. Labor Day weekend rates hover around $157 a night, making it a great base for checking out the city’s concerts and other events. Missouri Save 15 percent on a Kansas City stay and get Labor Day weekend started off right with the Crossroads Hotel’s Somewhere Your Summer Deserves package. Nightly rates start at $239 and include two complimentary koozies, two ice-cold PBRs and two frozen cocktails at the hotel’s swanky Percheron Rooftop Bar. Texas In San Antonio, Hotel Valencia Riverwalk is offering 15 percent off stays of at least two nights, bringing starting rates over the long weekend down to $229 a night. The hotel is right in the heart of downtown and makes a great base for checking out the historic Pearl District, The Alamo, and the San Antonio Museum of Art, among other popular attractions. Don’t miss the Ford Parade of Lanterns, happening along the River Walk from September 3–5 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wisconsin About a two-hour drive from Milwaukee or Madison (or a 40-minute drive from Green Bay), Fox Cities is a fun place to plan an affordable long-weekend getaway, especially if you want to spend time outdoors on Lake Winnebago. CopperLeaf Boutique Hotel & Spa, part of Best Western’s boutique Premier Collection, puts you in the middle of all the Appleton action with rates from $107 a night. About 15 minutes away in Neenah, kick back at the Best Western Premier Bridgewood Resort Hotel, which offers family friendly amenities like a water park, mini-golf course, an arcade and pickleball and tennis courts, with rates from $161 a night. Arizona Two hotels in Scottsdale are offering summertime specials just in time for Labor Day weekend. Downtown, nightly rates at The Saguaro Scottsdale start at $125 for a king room with a private balcony when you use promo code Saguaro, while stays of three or more nights are 30 percent off, with rates from $128 a night (use the same promo code). Nearby, Hotel Adeline has a daily happy hour deal that includes two cocktails and appetizers at SelfMade, from $209 a night. Families planning outdoorsy adventures in northern Arizona should check out Hyatt Place Page / Lake Powell’s Sweet Summer Fun package, which throws in a candy charcuterie board with fresh fruit and a mix of sweet, sour and spicy locally made candy; s’mores; and a water toy for children ages 12 and under; with Labor Day weekend rates from $219 a night. Another hiking-themed package, from $239 a night, includes a map to some of the most scenic spots in the area and a picnic lunch for two, complete with sandwiches, fruit, granola bars, chips and water. California Save 20 percent on a stay at the Margaritaville Resort Palm Springs when you book three or more nights this summer and use promo code SZCOOL. Rates over Labor Day weekend start at $182 a night, giving you the perfect excuse to visit one of Palm Springs’ newest hotels. For a real treat, visit the St. Somewhere Spa or try some craft cocktails at the 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar.

    Budget Travel Lists

    24 safe budget getaways for spring

    According to a recent study by vacation rental search engine HomeToGo, bookings are up by 46% compared to last year, with travelers opting to stay within 257 miles of home. Hotels and campgrounds are getting in on the action, with Hilton offering up to 20% off rates at certain properties and free night deals at Sun RV Resorts in Arizona, California and Texas when you book by March 7 and travel by March 31. If remote cabins or unique camping experiences are more your style, check Vacation Renter and RVC Outdoor Destinations for more off-the-beaten-path ideas. If you’re willing to wear a mask, practice social distancing and follow health and safety protocols, spring might be a good time to venture out, especially with hotels and destinations doing all they can to keep employees and visitors safe. Here are 24 socially distanced trips you can drive to this spring, all under $200 a night. New York Save on a Finger Lakes stay at 1795 Acorn Inn, located near Canandaigua Lake about five hours from NYC. Mention the Winter Weekend Package to unlock nightly rates from $130, daily breakfast and a free third night when you book a two-night stay Thursday through Sunday by April 25. Pennsylvania Choose from cabins, cottages, yurts, bungalows, villas, RV and tent campsites and a 52-room lodge at Lake Raystown Resort, about 3.5 hours from Philadelphia or 2.5 hours from Pittsburgh. Bike or hike the 400-acre property’s scenic trails, visit the WildRiver Waterpark or Proud Mary Showboat and dine by the water at the Marina Café. Nightly rates start at $139 for bungalows and villas, $124 for cottages, $94 for cabins, $89 for lodge accommodations and $30 for tent campsites. Washington, D.C. The Cherry Blossom package at The Ven at Embassy Row includes a cherry blossom themed amenity, hand-painted postcards designed by a local artist, a commemorative lapel pin and a $15 rideshare app credit, with rates from $154 a night when you book and stay through April 30. Virginia Head to Southwest Virginia for fewer crowds and beautiful natural surroundings roughly 2.5 hours from Charlotte or six hours from DC. Bring your bike and take on the 35-mile Virginia Creeper trail, hike to the highest point in the state at Mount Rogers or see the wild ponies in Grayson Highland State Park. At The Sessions Hotel in Bristol, the Birthplace of Country Music Museum package includes breakfast for two and admission to the museum, from $194 a night. Nearby, rates at The Bristol Hotel, which makes its home in a restored 1925 landmark building, start at $139 a night. Near Shenandoah National Park in Northern Virginia, the Vacationing on the Clock package at Massanutten Resort comes with two complimentary cups of coffee, nightly rates from $195 and your choice of lift tickets or waterpark passes when you book and stay at least two nights Thursday through Sunday in a one-bedroom condo by March 7. South Carolina Visit Myrtle Beach, home to more than 60 miles of Atlantic beaches and 50 mini-golf courses. Stop by the LW Paul Living History Farm, stroll through Brookgreen Gardens or treat yourself to a private kayak tour with Black River Outdoors to enjoy the area from the water. Stay at Island Vista, where each room has a balcony overlooking the beach (from $87) or Hotel BLUE, home to South Carolina’s first swim-up pool bar (from $75). About 30 minutes from Charleston, Wild Dunes Resort, a Hyatt property in Island of Palms, offers plenty of outdoor space, tennis courts, a fancy 36-hole championship golf course and opportunities to fish or try stand-up paddleboarding. Rates start at $160 a night this spring. History buffs will love the Olde English District, located about an hour’s drive from Charlotte or Columbia, where you can learn about the area’s African American heritage and Revolutionary War history at a living history site, enjoy the great outdoors at Goodale State Park or get a bird’s eye view by sailplane with Bermuda High Soaring. Nightly rates at the charming East Main Guest House Bed and Breakfast in Rock Hill start at $129. Florida Celebrate Tampa’s Cuban heritage with a staycation at Hotel Haya, located on 7th Avenue in the heart of Ybor City. The Grab & Go Breakfast package, available from $174 a night, includes a homemade guava pastelito, a can of traditional con leche and fresh fruit. Between Pensacola and Panama City Beach, Hotel Effie Sandestin’s location within the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort and proximity to Silver Sands Premium Outlets make it a great base for those in need of a round of golf or a shopping spree, with rates from $189 a night. In the Florida Keys, you’ll save 20% on weeknight vacation rentals or motel stays of at least two nights at Pelican RV Resort & Marina in Marathon (from $165) or Riptide RV Resort & Marina in Key Largo (from $150) when you book by April 30 and stay Sunday through Thursday by May 31. Mississippi Calling all Elvis fans: Whether you’re heading to Tupelo as part of a larger road trip from Memphis or Nashville or just enjoying the city’s history, music and foodie scene in its own right, there’s a lot to see here. Tour the King’s birthplace by bike, take a scenic drive along the Natchez Trace Parkway and camp lakeside at nearby Tombigbee State Park, with cabins from $60 a night and fully equipped vacation cottages from $75 a night. Texas Try a Texas Hill Country getaway or day trip this spring to see the wildflower bloom in March and April, enjoy Barbecue Month celebrations in May or spend time wandering charming towns like Fredericksburg, which celebrates its 175th birthday this year. Aviation enthusiasts will love the Hangar Hotel in Fredericksburg, a quirky hotel built to resemble a 1940s WWII hangar (rooms from $149), while an hour away in Dripping Springs, Lucky Arrow Retreat offers luxury yurts and cabins (from $159–$199) next door to the Bell Springs Winery and Brewing Company. Families near Dallas can enjoy early access to the Hilton Anatole’s new JadeWaters waterpark, which will be open to hotel guests on weekends from April 30 to May 31 before opening fully on Memorial Day weekend. Packages offer a $50 daily credit or complimentary breakfast, from $169 a night. About 90 minutes from Dallas in East Texas, the Deer Lake Cabins Ranch Resort in Mount Vernon offers more than 800 acres of trails and lakes so you can really get back to nature. Spend your days hiking, fishing, feeding farm animals, horseback riding or cruising around on a UTV, and your nights at a cowboy cookout or on a hayride, with cottages from $189 a night. Ohio The Mohicans Treehouse Resort & Wedding Venue, roughly 90 minutes from Cleveland or Columbus, is offering discounts through March 16 on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday treehouse stays. Use promo code BUDGET2021 to unlock $200 nightly rates for the Moonlight, White Oak, Little Red, Old Pine and The Nest treehouses and $250 rates for the Tin Shed, Silver Bullet, The View and El Castillo. In Columbus, check out the Chihuly collection at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, wander the historic German Village district, take on the largest free outdoor climbing wall in the country at Scioto Audubon Metropark and get some air along the 253-mile Scioto Mile. Springtime rates at Moxy Columbus Short North start at $91 a night, while the Work Anywhere Stay Pass package includes early 6 a.m. check-in, late 6 p.m. check-out, complimentary Wi-Fi and a $10 food and beverage credit. Illinois Those seeking a pet-friendly staycation should check out the Radisson Blu Chicago’s VIPup package, which includes a doggie bed, as well as a welcome toy, portable food and water bowls, gourmet treats, a food and drink mat and a waste bag dispenser, with rates from $149 a night. Wisconsin There’s plenty of outdoor fun to be had in Door County, just 45 minutes from Green Bay and two hours from Milwaukee. History buffs should head to the Heritage Village living history museum in Sturgeon Bay, which will be reopening in May, as well as the Door County Maritime Museum to learn about the area’s shipbuilding past. Stay at Eagle Harbor Inn, a charming bed and breakfast in Ephraim, with rates from $98 a night. Nearby, the Fox Cities area offers many outdoor attractions — head to High Cliff State Park near Lake Winnebago to hike one of the park’s seven historic trails or try your hand at making maple syrup in Bubolz Nature Preserve. Stay in Appleton and book the CopperLeaf Boutique Hotel & Spa’s Winter Warmer package — you’ll get complimentary hot chocolate, two handcrafted stoneware coffee mugs, two mini bottles of Dr. McGillicuddy’s liqueur and a $50 credit toward dining or spa treatments, from $174 through March 31 — or the Girls’ Night on the Town package, which includes a bottle of wine and a $20 minibar credit (from $150). South Dakota The Badlands and Black Hills are full of scenic outdoor spaces worthy of a road trip, like Badlands National Park, Crazy Horse Memorial, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, just to name a few. Visit Custer State Park to see the buffalo roam, then stay onsite at Custer State Park Resort, where you can save 20% and receive a $20 credit on two-night stays (or save 25% and receive a $25 credit) when you stay between April 26 and May 22 and mention the Stay and Save This Spring package. Rates for lodge and cabin rooms start at $140 a night. Colorado Those booking two weekend stays in Arrowhead, Bearclaw or Foxtail cabins at the River Run Resort in Granby will get one free weekend stay when they book and travel by March 28. Two-weekend packages start at $520 (which breaks down to $130 a night) and come with six free bowling games, plus you can add extra nights for 20% less if you want to stay longer. Back in Denver, The Curtis has a great package for groups who want to enjoy a safe getaway together. The Choose Your Adventure package lets up to 24 guests take over an entire floor — that’s 12 guest rooms at double occupancy — from $2,000 a night, which breaks down to about $166 per room or $83 per person. You’ll also get to book your choice of socially distanced adventures, like laser tag, a silent disco or murder mystery game night, among others. Washington For an epic outdoor escape with a luxury resort twist, head 90 minutes from Seattle to Suncadia Resort, a Hyatt property situated among more than 6,000 acres of beautiful mountain scenery in Cle Elum. Spend some time hiking or biking more than 40 miles of trails in Wenatchee Washington National Forest or trying your hand at archery or axe throwing, among other activities, with rates from $171 a night.

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    The best US lakes for recreation

    Lake Powell Lake Powell is a reservoir in Glen Canyon National Recreational Area near the Utah and Arizona border. The water is a crisp blue, and snakes through the red rock canyon, offering plenty of opportunities for water sports and recreation. Visitors to Lake Powell can take a boat tour, go waterskiing and visit Cathedral in the Desert, a stunning rock monument located in Lake Powell. Its location near the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley provides an amazing opportunity for adventurers to have the road trip of a lifetime. Lake Lanier Lake Lanier is located in North Georgia, about an hour from Atlanta and a short drive from Chattanooga. It is a man-made reservoir made by damming the Chattahoochee River to provide electricity and flood control for nearby Atlanta. More than 10 million people visit Lake Lanier annually, with many of them using the Lanier Islands as a recreational hub. The Lanier Islands have plenty of lodging and dining options for all budgets, including tent camping and an RV park. Lake of the Ozarks Missouri's crown jewel of a lake sits in the middle of the state and offers a world-class destination. Visitors can find a plethora of land-based activities, restaurants and accommodations. In addition, there are countless marinas available to rent or store a boat. There are also 32 hiking trails near the lake, along with four caves to explore. There is inexpensive camping available nearby at Ozarks State Park and Ha Ha Tonka State Park. Pickwick Lake © Laura Brown / Budget Travel Pickwick Lake, Tennessee The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) created a series of 9 major dams across Tennessee during the 1930s and 1940s to bring affordable electricity and jobs to an area stricken by the Great Depression. Today, all the TVA lakes are great for water sports and recreation, but our favorite is Pickwick Lake, on the border of Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi, just outside Memphis. Yellow Creek Cove on the lake is a constant party for boaters in the summer and features a rope swing into the water below. There is a great camping spot at Pickwick Landing State Park, where there is also a marina and available boat rentals. Big Bear Lake Big Bear Lake in Southern California, the ‘Jewel of the San Bernardino National Forest,’ prides itself on being open all four seasons for water recreation. Located 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles, it also can be accessed easily from Las Vegas or Phoenix. Big Bear offers a mountain atmosphere, with hiking trails, winter skiing, and summer swimming. The heart of Big Bear Lake is at Big Bear Village, a charming small town that serves as the region’s hub for dining and lodging. Make sure to check out the local festivals at The Village at Halloween and Christmas. Lake Tahoe © MariuszBlach / Getty Images Lake Tahoe Lake Tahoe sits on the border of California and Nevada, near Reno. It is the second deepest lake in the United States (after Crater Lake) and is known for its incredibly clear water and vibrant colors. Tahoe is known as a gateway for recreational adventure. Visitors can access hundreds of miles of beautiful hiking trails, as well as rent paddleboards and kayaks to explore the lake. Lake Mead Lake Mead lies outside of Las Vegas, and is the largest reservoir in the United States, formed by the Hoover Dam. Boating in Lake Mead is a popular activity, with four separate marinas available to rent or store boats. Lake Mead Cruises also takes a nightly cruise to the Hoover Dam and back. Lake Mead is heaven for fishing and offers some of the best sport fishing in the United States. Lake Placid © Chuck Robinson Photography / Getty Images Lake Placid Lake Placid in the Adirondacks is a classic New York mountain town, with views so legendary the town was selected to host the Winter Olympics in 1932 and 1980. In the winter, Lake Placid has amazing opportunities to snow ski and snowboard. In the summer, Lake Placid is a utopia for waterboarding and tubing. For those who own their own boat, there are several public launch points. For those on a budget, there are hostels off the lake for low rates or camping in nearby campgrounds or in the Adirondack backcountry. Lake Winnebago Lake Winnebago is a glacial lake in eastern Wisconsin, north of Milwaukee near Appleton and Oshkosh. It is a relatively shallow lake, known for great fishing in both the summer and the winter, with a prominent ice fishing industry. The lake’s most abundant fish are the Walleye, Perch, Sturgeon and Bass. Boats are readily available for rent at nearby Marinas. Boaters have access to more than 18,000 acres of water, including Lake Butte des Morts and the Fox River. Lake Winnepesaukee You can explore more than 250 different islands in New Hampshire’s Lake Winnepesaukee, or hike in the nearby White Mountains. There are a plethora of small villages on the shores of the lake, which can be reached by either boat or car, and each offers an individual flavor. Rent a boat and go waterboarding in the summer or plan a snowboarding adventure in the winter. When you’re ready to go indoors, check out one of the many breweries nearby, such as the Woodstock Inn Brewery in Woodstock. The nearest major city is Manchester. SPONSORED BY GEICOAs always, prior to travel, make sure you are up to date on your destination’s health and safety restrictions. See how much you could save when you bundle your car and boat insurance with GEICO. Carefully crafted collaboratively between GEICO, Lonely Planet and Budget Travel. Both parties provided research and curated content to produce this story. We disclose when information isn’t ours.

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    Jamaica's Other Side

    It's a tiny crowd that assembles on the rocky outcrop between bays--two young Peace Corps volunteers down from the mountains for the weekend, a middle-aged American couple who've been strolling arm in arm along the beach, and a Jamaican man who hiked down the hill from his villa. Chitchat halts as the sun sinks and clouds turn pyrotechnic on the horizon. So ends another perfect, indolent day on Jamaica's South Coast. There's more sun for the money on "the other side of the island," as Jamaicans call the 100-mile stretch from Savannah-la-Mar to Milk River. Nestled in the rain shadow of the country's central mountain range, the southwest corner of the island has a dry climate, uncrowded beaches, towering waterfalls, mysterious rivers-and some of the best food in the country. What it doesn't have are big resorts. Jamaica-bound Americans have long gravitated to resort developments in Montego Bay and Ocho Rios on the north side of the island, and Negril on the west, where they get a generic, sequestered experience of warm weather, a beach, and umbrella-garnished rum drinks. But when the already laid-back Jamaicans want to unwind, they choose the South Coast for bargain rates on an unspoiled Caribbean shore where locals treat you like family. Almost every casual conversation leads to the suggestion that you look up a relative in the States. Stop at the same coffee shop or restaurant three days in a row, and you'll get a big hug good-bye when you have to go home. Best of all, rooms on the beach start at $30 and you can feast on freshly caught fish for $6 or less. SuperClubs it ain't. Picking a base The South Coast sweeps through open sugarcane fields in the west to a wetlands wilderness at the midpoint. But the best place to base your visit is east of Black River, where the coastline is scalloped with small bays. The heart of this beach country is the four-mile stretch of fishing coves along Calabash, Frenchman's, and Billy's Bays known as Treasure Beach, more a region than a village. Not only do the soft, brown sand beaches have great swimming, body-surfing, and snorkeling, Treasure Beach is also ideally situated for exploring the villages and backcountry of this rural side of Jamaica. Calabash and Frenchman's Bays bustle with tiny restaurants and bars, and all four miles of the shore are dotted with villas, small hotels, and guesthouses. The premier bargain lodging on Frenchman's Bay-only a garden gate separates the property from the beach-is Golden Sands Guest House (876/965-0167, www.geocities.com/goldensandsguesthouse). Three single-story buildings hold 24 spartan but immaculate rooms, each fitted with an overhead fan, two twin beds, a dresser, and a bathroom with cold (actually cool) water. Simple white bed linens and towels are provided. Popular with the backpacking crowd, the shared kitchens let you economize by preparing your own meals. The monkish rooms are offset by flowering grounds, the sound of surf a few yards away, and a pleasant outdoor bar. Rooms for two are $30 per night. The sole one-bedroom cottage with air-conditioning and TV costs $60. The modern, family-run Sunset Resort Villa (800/786-8452, 876/965-0143, www.sunsetresort.com) offers many creature comforts on a budget. The crisply maintained, intimate complex of 12 air-conditioned rooms enjoys spectacular sunset views over the courtyard pool or from the outdoor tables of its accomplished, upscale restaurant (full meal, about $25). Room decor leans toward rich colors and floral prints, and most rooms have king- or queen-size beds with soft linens, high-grade mattresses, and abundant towels. Rooms for two start at $80 a night without breakfast. With 32 air-conditioned rooms, Treasure Beach Hotel (800/526-2422, 876/965-0110, www.treasurebeachjamaica.com) is both the area's largest lodging and a popular budget honeymoon getaway, especially for Jamaicans. Founded in the 1930s as a retreat for asthmatics, Treasure Beach Hotel, which overlooks the sea, has installed two large pools and a hot tub, and it has cultivated a wooded, tropical-garden landscape for guests who like to leave the rest of the world behind. The Frenchman's Bay beach is steps away. Published rates start at $99 to $110 for two in a garden-view room; ask about discounts for multinight stays. All the beaches of Treasure Beach are public, but they're hardly crowded. The coastline consists of long, sandy crescents punctuated by rocky outcrops. Moderate waves crest high enough for good bodysurfing, and coral reefs about 100 yards offshore make for colorful snorkeling. These are working beaches, and one corner of each cove is usually reserved for the fleet of 30-foot open fishing boats bobbing at the low-tide line with their tethers leading up the beach. There are no swim-up bars on Treasure Beach, but there are plenty of thatched-roof huts along the shore where you can order an icy Red Stripe and escape the sun under a palm tree. Some of the best dining is close enough to the water to feel the splash of the surf. Winsome's On the Beach (Frenchman's Beach, no phone) sets a high standard for casual cuisine with inventive twists on Jamaican classics such as fish soup for $1.80, callaloo (similar to spinach) fritters for $2, and chicken adobe (coconut milk-tomato-ginger sauce) or grilled kingfish in escovitch (pickled onions, peppers, and carrots), each only $6. Diners Delite (Treasure Beach Rd., no phone) serves country-style dishes, including saltfish and okra ($2.60), braised oxtail ($4.60), and chicken stew ($3.40). If you have a hankering for Jamaican jerk barbecue ($5.60 to $8), Chef Kit at Wild Onion (off Treasure Beach Rd., no phone) fires up the outdoor pits nightly, with live music on the weekends. Fish Fry and a Soak The dining and beachside social scene at Little Ochi (876/965-4450) lures even many Treasure Beach locals into driving an hour east to the fishing village of Alligator Pond. Select your own fish (priced by weight), then settle into a thatched hut or an old fishing boat on the beach. Dinner ($10 to $12) will be delivered to you, along with bammy (cassava bread), "festival" (cornmeal cake), and rice and peas. It's another 40 minutes east along the narrow coastal road to Alligator Hole, a broad pool in a river inhabited by three female manatees. You're most likely to see them in the afternoon when they come to feed at this idyllic spot. The mineral baths at Milk River Spa (Clarendon, 876/902-6902), 15 minutes farther east, were discovered in 1794. Like more famous spas (Bath, England, or Karlovy Vary/Karlsbad, Czech Republic, for example), Milk River touts the powers of its naturally radioactive waters, claiming that they cure "gout, rheumatism, neuralgia, sciatica, lumbago, nerve complaints generally, and liver disorders." In any event, a relaxing 15-minute soak in a private chamber costs $2, and you can also pamper yourself with a $4 manicure or a $24 full-body massage. On the way back to Treasure Beach, Lover's Leap, south of Southfield, marks the spot where a slave couple jumped to their deaths in 1747 rather than be separated from each other. Admission to the observation deck atop the 1,700-foot cliff is $3 ($2 under age 12) for a jaw-dropping view. Black River's Dark Heart People from all over the South Coast converge on the town of Black River, located just a half-hour drive west of Treasure Beach, to sell and shop at a huge open-air market. Once the center of Jamaica's logging industry, Black River has a couple of historic "great houses" that recall the island's days as a British colony-as in the old British saying, "Rich as a Jamaican planter." The waterway of Black River and its associated 125-square-mile swamp are natural wonders comparable to the Louisiana bayous or the Everglades. The Morass is home to more than 100 species of birds, mahogany and logwood forests, mangrove swamps-and Jamaica's greatest concentration of American saltwater crocodiles. To sneak up on the leathery behemoths dozing in the sun, take a cruise with wetlands biologist Lloyd Linton. His Irie Safari (12 High St., 876/965-2211, 876/384-7673) offers 90-minute tours on pontoon boats for $20 per person ($15 each for three or more). It's worth the splurge. Before you explore the pristine upper reaches of the river as it penetrates the Jamaican mountains, you might want to drive 20 minutes west to Whitehouse for a light lunch of conch fritters ($7) at Culloden Cafe (Hwy. A2, 876/963-5344), which serves gourmet Caribbean fare in a garden setting overlooking the water. Back on the main highway, tree-high grasses arch over the four-mile stretch of Bamboo Avenue. Couples sit in the shade selling coconuts, called "jelly coconuts," for less than a dollar each. Jamaicans say that drinking coconut water "washes the heart," but from Lacovia, you can follow the signs to the true Jamaican cure-all at Appleton Estate (876/963-9215), rum makers since 1749. The $12 admission charge ($6 under age 12) includes a tour of the process of turning sugarcane into fine, aged rums, a generous tasting, and a small souvenir bottle of rum, which should help soften your return home. As Jamaicans often say, "When you have troubles, don't cry--remember rum is standing by."

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    A Handful of America's Nicest Easter Egg Events

    The Easter holiday is only about two weeks away on Sunday, April 8. More than 100 communities are making final preparations for their Easter egg events, which include parades, egg decorating, egg rolling, and egg hunts. The most famous of these events is the annual White House Easter Egg Roll on April 9. The annual ticket lottery for that event closed earlier this month. The tradition started in 1878 with 19th President Rutherford B. Hayes, who invited children to play Easter games on the White House lawn after mean Congressmen banned the youngsters from the Capitol grounds. Here are some other events nationwide. Some events are non-denominational, while others are led by local churches. Merrillville, Indiana. At the Living Hope Church in Northwest Indiana, about an hour's drive from Chicago, about 100,000 plastic eggs will be hidden throughout the grounds, with a hunt beginning at 10 am for children 11 and under. Midday, there will be a helicopter candy drop. April 7, Lake County Fairgrounds, morning, lhcweb.org Coconut Creek, Fla. On the morning of April 7, this town near Orlando runs hosts its second-annual hunt for 60,000-plus eggs at a local high school for kids up to fifth-gade. " target="_blank">eggstravaganza.org Minneapolis/St. Paul The suburban town of North Maple Grove hosts the Twin Cities' largest annual Easter Egg Hunt, with 30,000 colorful candy-filled plastic eggs being hunted on the grounds of Maple Grove Senior High School. April 8; kids up to sixth grade. Free, but reserve tickets online. Fremont, Ohio The Hayes Presidential Center holds several egg-rolling and egg-decorating contests, with every child receiving a balloon, a pass to the Hayes Home, and treats. Admission is three hard-boiled colored eggs. afternoon of April 7, kids up to age 10, rbhayes.org/hayes Copper Mountain Ski Resort, Colo.. On April 8, kids up to age 11 can search for 50,000 eggs in the Colorado's largest Easter egg hunt. Big kids can hunt for six "copper eggs" using Facebook check-ins as clues and with substantial prizes. midday, kids 7-11, Copper Mountain Ski Resort Felton, Calif. Children hop on a steam train, hearing the story of Peter Rabbit, and then reach a patch in Bear Mountain where they search for chocolate candy eggs. midday, roaringcamp.com, $24, adults, $17 kids, 2-12. Appleton, Wisc. Pathways Church, on the morning of April 7 will host a hunt with 30,000 Easter eggs and 3,000 pounds of candy. pathwayschurch.us LIST OF 100-PLUS EGG HUNTS. SEE MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL Our Best Ideas for Traveling with Kids Is Legoland Florida Worth the Cost? Flying With Kids: A Survival Guide

    Inspiration

    Testicle festival

    We received the following email from Judy McFarland of Columbia, Mo. Please let Kate Appleton know that she missed one Wacky Festival in Missouri, the Testicle Festival. I've attached a billboard picture from the festival, which happens in Olean, Mo. Duly noted, Judy. We clicked these photos on Flickr to learn more. But you may be heartened to know that Budget Travel mentioned the Testicle Festival in its recent Road Trip: Eastern Kansas. [Update: A reader has reported on a second testicle festival. See comments below.] You can see Judy's testicle festival photo... here: And here is Kate Appleton's terrific roundup of Wacky Festivals.

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    DESTINATION IN Wisconsin

    Fox Cities

    The Fox Cities of Northeastern Wisconsin are the cities, towns and villages along the Fox River as it flows from Lake Winnebago northward into Green Bay. The Fox Cities communities, as defined by its Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau, include: The cities of Appleton (pop. 74,526), Kaukauna (16,246), Menasha (17,771), Neenah (26,062), and Oshkosh (67,004). The villages of Combined Locks (pop. 3,588), Fox Crossing (19,029), Harrison (11,532), Hortonville (2,767), Kimberly (6,803), Little Chute (11,564), and Sherwood (2,985). The towns of Buchanan (pop. 6,755), Clayton (3,951), Freedom (5,842), Grand Chute (20,919), Greenville (10,309), Kaukauna (1,238), Neenah (3,237), Vandenbroek (1,474).Major points of interest include the Fox Cities Exhibition Center, Community First Champion Center, Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, High Cliff State Park, and Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium. The Fox River Mall is the largest shopping mall in the state at 1.2 million square feet.Area post-secondary schools include Fox Valley Technical College, Lawrence University, and the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Fox Cities Campus. Bus transit for the area is provided by Valley Transit and commercial airline service is provided by Appleton International Airport. Major highway routes in the area include: Interstate 41/U.S. Route 41, which connects the Fox Cities with Green Bay and Milwaukee; Wisconsin Highway 441, known locally as the Tri-County Expressway, which is an auxiliary highway of Interstate 41 that serves as a beltway around Appleton; and U.S. Route 10 which travels east-west, connecting the Fox Cities with Stevens Point/Waupaca and Manitowoc. Television and radio stations in the area, usually originating out of Green Bay, utilize the term "Green Bay/Fox Cities" in their station identifications to encompass both major population centers in the region.