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Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2008

20 Places To Go, Things To Do in 2008

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After storms, comb the beach for shipwreck artifacts. (920-794-7480, www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/land/parks/spe cific/pointbeach/) (Gary Knowles)

Rock Island State Park: This getaway is a state park treasure just two ferries from Door County. Surrounded by Lake Michigan, the park includes 912 acres, 10 miles of hiking trails, 5,000 feet of beach and 40 campsites (reserve before you go). No cars, bikes or boutiques. (920-847-2235, www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/land/parks/spe cific/rockisland/) (G.K.)

Hayward: Spider Lake Lodge, near Hayward, has been a fishing camp since 1923. The present owners—interior designers who specialize in lodges—have transformed the lodge into a posh and private getaway that has not lost its character. (800- 653-9472, www.spiderlakelodge.com) (Mary Bergin)

Boulder Junction: The population of Vilas County’s Boulder Junction is less than 1,000, but cute shops and a vibrant downtown add depth to this otherwise rustic location. The area’s 200 lakes and rivers help the community earn its nickname as the “Musky Capital of the World.” (800-466- 8759, www.boulderjct.org) (M.B.)

Midwest

Lansing, Iowa: Across the Mississippi River from De Soto, Wis., on Iowa’s Great River Road, this beautiful historic river town has emerged as a regional travel destination that attracts artists and craftspeople. You can view three states from atop Mount Hosmer. (563-538-4543, www.lansingiowa.com) (G.K.)

Circle Lake Superior Tour: From Superior, Wis., follow rugged lakeshore to Thunder Bay, Nipigon, Wawa and Sault Ste. Marie, then around Whitefish Point to Marquette, Houghton, Ashland, Bayfield and back to Superior, about 1,000-1,200 miles total. This drive will give you an appreciation of what an amazing legacy we have in the Great Lakes. (888-244-5253, www.lakesuperiorcircletour. com, www.greatlakes. net/tourism/circletour/superior) (G.K.)

Mackinac Bridge, St. Ignace, Mich.: The Mighty Mac turned 50 in 2007 and it still has lots of power to inspire. Stretching 5 miles and connecting the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan, it’s the third-longest suspension bridge in the world. Drive 199 feet above the water (drivers are available for those who just can’t stand the thrill). (800- 338-6660, www.stignace.com, www.mackinacbridge. org) (G.K.)

Isle Royale, Mich.: True isolation is the lure at Isle Royale National Park on Lake Superior, accessible by boat (from Grand Portage, Minn.; Houghton or Copper Harbor, Mich.) or seaplane (from Houghton). The number of visitors per year equals what Yellowstone gets each day. (906-482-0984, www.nps.gov/isro) (M.B.)

Traverse City, Mich.: The time is ripe to buy berries from Michigan, home to the National Cherry Festival (July 5-12) in Traverse City and the National Blueberry Festival (Aug. 7-10) in South Haven. (800- 968-3380, www.cherryfestival.org; 800-764- 2836, www.blueberryfestival.com) (M.B.)

Grand Rapids, Minn.: Opportunities to meet a Munchkin are increasingly rare, so that’s one reason to visit Grand Rapids, Minn., for the annual Judy Garland Festival, June 26-28. This northeastern Minnesota city is the hometown of the Wizard of Oz actress. (800-664-5839, www.judygarlandmuseum. com) (M.B.)

The United States

Portland, Maine: This coastline ranks with the most spectacular in the world and the shore is dotted with seaports and early American history. Roadside stands sell lobster dinners and antique hunting is a state sport. Base yourself in Portland and spend a week or two wandering. (207-772-5800, www.visitportland.com) (G.K.)

Yellowstone National Park: America’s first national park (1872) sets high benchmarks for jaw-dropping scenery, wildlife and natural beauty. Grizzlies, wolves, bison, elk, bubbling hot springs, waterfalls and some 300 geysers are hard to beat. Stay at Old Faithful Inn, a national historic landmark. (Park Service: www.nps.gov/yell; lodging: 866-439-7375 www.travelyellowstone. com/old-faithful-inn-96.html) (G.K.)

Kanab, Utah: Best Friends Animal Society, on a 33,000-acre ranch in Angel Canyon, operates the nation’s biggest sanctuary for homeless and abused pets. Volunteer workers, for a day or longer, are needed. Nearby are Zion and Bryce Canyon national parks. And Las Vegas is only a four-hour drive away. (435-644-2001, www.bestfriends.org) (M.B.)

Santa Fe, N.M.: Time to get reacquainted with Santa Fe, the New Mexico city that counts Wisconsin farm girl Georgia O’Keeffe as one of its own. In fact, her artwork has its own museum here. Pueblo architecture and heritage, Southwestern cuisine and exposure to desert living are a few other reasons to visit. (800-777-2489, www.santafe.org) (M.B.)

International

Ottawa, Canada: How this great city escapes so many travelers is a mystery. The region offers excellent museums, topranked restaurants, fabulous shopping, reasonable prices (even with a sinking dollar) and English-speaking, friendly residents. Tour Rideau Hall (home of the governor general), Parliament (in session, very entertaining!) and the Royal Canadian Mint. (888-688-2928, www.ottawa.com) (G.K.) Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada: For sheer natural spectacle,

Vancouver is the best. It’s the Sydney of North America, with water and/or mountains in every direction. Stanley Park has more than 1,000 acres of gardens, trails and forest. Shopping? Gastown, Robson Street, Yaletown. Dining? Welcome to seafood heaven. Coming: Winter Olympic Games, Feb. 12-28, 2010. (604-682-2222, www.tourismvancouver.com; Olympics: www.vancouver2010.com/en) (G.K.)

Tasmania, Australia: Australia is near the end of the Earth and you can see most of it from Tasmania. This Ireland-sized island with some 500,000 people is about 150 miles south of Australia’s mainland. It’s home to some wild and crazy species, including Tasmanian devils, wombats, platypuses and plants that date back 95 million years to the supercontinent Gondwana. There are also great wines and seafood at this environmentally friendly destination. ( 61 3 6230 8235, www.discovertasmania.com) (G.K.)

Calgary, Alberta, Canada: In Canada, the home of the Wild West is in Calgary, a city that combines pioneer spirit with urban enlightenment. Best-known event: the Calgary Stampede, 10 days of rodeos and chuck wagon racing in July. (800-661-1678, www.tourismcalgary.com) (M.B.)

Aran Islands, Ireland: To better understand the people and culture of authentic Gaelic Ireland, take a ferry from Galway or Doolin to the Aran Islands—Inis Mor, Inis Meain and Inis Oirr, where coastlines, cliffs and lessons in Celtic history await. ( 091- 563081, www.visitaranislands.com) (M.B.)

St. Andrews, Scotland: If you find yourself on this part of the planet, be sure to take in the Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort and Spa, which borders the 17th hole of the world’s oldest golf course, in St. Andrews, Scotland. Why should even non-golfers take note? The hotel has been made into a luxury property by the Kohler Co. (www.oldcoursehotel.co.uk) (M.B.)

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