Travelers' Intercom USA

Fyllis Block inspecting blacksmith shop hardware at the Coarsegold Historic Museum in Coarsegold, California. Photos by Victor Block

During a May 2021 visit to Yosemite National Park, my wife, Fyllis, and I also visited nearby places that many people miss. They added to the story and history of the park and surrounding region, enhancing our appreciation of both.

• The Pioneer Yosemite History Center (8308 Wawona Rd., Wawona, CA; 209/372-0200,, located past the park’s southern entrance in the town of Wawona, contains structures, some moved to...


Living in southwestern Pennsylvania, my husband and I go to ramp feeds and festivals, mostly in West Virginia and usually in April.

Ramps are wild leeks. They are one of the first edible plants to ripen in the Appalachian forests in the spring. Beginning in April and continuing through May, scores of community ramp dinners and festivals are held. Many are small affairs, but others feed more than 1,000 people a day. Traditionally, the dinners are fund raisers for churches, libraries...


My husband, Jerry Vetowich, and I took a custom tour to Alaska, July 19-Aug. 1, 2021. As our travel agent, we chose ITN advertiser Varini de Silva of Ceylon Express International (Huntington Beach, CA; 800/423-9566, She had previously arranged trips for us in Sri Lanka and China and was great at following up, when necessary.

Varini used Alaska Tours (Anchorage, AK; 866/317-3325, to arrange the details of our tour, and they did an excellent job...


Meandering along gentle pathways past and through a blanket of greenery highlighted by explosions of color, my wife, Fyllis, and I could have been in Japan, but we weren’t. 

A highlight of our visit to Portland, Oregon, in August 2019 was a stop at the Portland Japanese Garden (611 SW Kingston Ave.; 503/223-1321,*, which provided fond memories of our sojourn to the Land of the Rising Sun two years earlier.

This oasis of beauty and serenity in the...

The Chandler plantation outbuilding where Stonewall Jackson died — Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park. Photos by Joanne Kuzma

Normally, I take several international tours each year (I’ve been to 55 countries), but because of COVID, its been almost two years since I’ve gone anywhere, so I decided to look for a historical domestic tour. I found an interesting Civil War tour out of Washington, DC, with FFC Historical Tours (Baltimore, MD; 410/733-2912,,* so I flew up.

Taking place Sept. 24-28, 2021, it cost $1,200 per person, double occupancy, or $1,400, single, and...

Red-rock formations at Caprock Canyons State Park & Trailway, Texas. Photos by Stephen Strecker

As part of an extended drive along Route 66, my wife, Teresa, and I explored the Texas Panhandle region over five nights in June 2021.

Our adventure in the area began with a fun culinary stop on the eastern edge of Amarillo, Texas, with a good kitschy, touristy meal at the giant Big Texan Steak Ranch (7701 I-40 East, Amarillo; 806/372-6000,, where steaks are good and affordable but the real entertainment, when it happens, is watching someone on an improvised stage...


Tired of being at home and thinking things might be getting back to normal, in April we booked a family vacation for six that seemed manageable: a 7-day small-ship cruise in Alaska’s Inside Passage, departing July 21, 2021.

American Cruise Lines (800/460-4518, asked us to confirm we were vaccinated. As it turned out, two guests and a crew member on the July 4 sailing tested positive, and it was canceled as well as the following one. We waited nervously...


The next time you’re near Miami, Florida, be sure to visit the Myrna and Sheldon Palley Pavilion for Contemporary Glass and Studio Arts ( at the Lowe Art Museum (Coral Gables, FL;, on the University of Miami’s campus.

The Palleys collected and commissioned art glass for many years and have one of the finest collections in the country. Many years ago, they built an extension to the Lowe Art...