Come back, say the U.K. and Ireland


May 13, 2001

With the foot-and-mouth epidemic largely under control in Britain and Ireland, the countries have been reopening sites previously closed to visitors.

Britain has reopened 214 English Heritage sites, more than 300 National Trust sites and 144 Historic Houses Association sites, but some sites remain closed, which may have an impact on summer travel plans. To check out what's open, go to or www.openbritain.

James McDaid, Ireland's minister for tourism, sport and recreation, said recently that his country is "basically 99 percent back in business" after the European Union approved reopening an area on the Cooley Peninsula, about 50 miles from Dublin, where Ireland's only foot-and-mouth case was discovered.

Canceled St. Patrick's Day festivities in Dublin have been rescheduled for May 18-20. McDaid expects all of Ireland's parks to be reopened this week. Some visitor restrictions still apply in rural areas, and the Dublin Zoo remains closed. For updates, call the Irish Tourist Board at 800-223-6470 or visit www.

The disease, which can devastate livestock herds, is not viewed as a serious threat to humans. But because people can spread the virus on shoes and clothes, countries have closed some farmland and other areas to visitors in affected regions.

-- From wire reports


Airline layovers, cancellations, delays -- they all mean more time spent in airports. But "Stuck at the Airport" (Fireside Books, $13), a new book by Harriet Baskas, challenges the conventional wisdom that terminal time is wasted time.

Baskas profiles 54 airports and their best services and unexpected attractions, including diversions for kids, places to eat, art exhibits, napping spots, masseuses and quick trips by cab. Here's a sample:

* At London's Heathrow Airport, rentable personal shoppers will not only shop for you, but escort you past security so you can shop duty-free in other terminals.

* Florida's Orlando airport has its own microbrewery,

* The Lambert-St. Louis International Airport has Charles Lindbergh's personal plane suspended from the ceiling of the main terminal.

* Reno's Tahoe International Airport has 237 slot machines for those with jackpots on their minds.

Immigrant stories are brought to life

The Heritage Discovery Center, which opened in March in Johnstown, Pa., examines the story of life for immigrants in the industrial America of the early 1900s. Visitors experience the sights, sounds and smells of the town that produced tons of steel for U.S. warships, buildings and railroads.

Immigrants' stories -- such as that of Josef, a 12-year-old boy who came to America after his parents died in Poland, and Maria, a young woman who was sent to the United States from Italy for an arranged marriage -- illustrate the daily struggles and triumphs these new residents faced.

For more information about the center, which is open daily, call 814-539-1889 or visit / discenter / disc_centr.htm.

Outer Banks, inner peace

Every year, according to tourism officials, some 7 million people vacation in North Carolina's Outer Banks, and every year, many of them get stuck in traffic. This year, however, there may be fewer traffic snarls.

The Chesapeake Expressway, a new 16-mile, four-lane highway (off southeastern Virginia's I-64 connecting to Route 168 and the North Carolina border) could shave as much as 20 minutes off the trip, according to traffic officials, and the new route may also cut down on traffic along other roads leading to the Outer Banks.

The expressway, which opens May 23, will charge cars a $2 toll. For more information, go to / services / depart / pub-wrks / pub-wrks / 168.html or call 757-204-0010.

-- Tricia Bishop

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