Up on Jefferson's mountain

Foundation offers tours of Montalto's sweeping views of Monticello in Va.

The Smart Traveler

May 21, 2006

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA. -- A mountain that rises more than 400 feet above the rooftops of Thomas Jefferson's estate is open for tours, offering visitors a new way to experience the legacy of the former president.

Montalto, also called Brown's Mountain, offers sweeping views of Jefferson's Monticello and the Blue Ridge Mountains. It was once open to the public and served as home to many University of Virginia graduate students and others who lived along the mountain in quaint stone houses.


Fodor's / $19.95

Here's an unusual idea: a guidebook to 12 of the most "outstanding" races in a particular month. Author and marathon runner Elise Allen has chosen what she considers the best opportunities for marathon races in the country, based on their location, their history, their character or a mixture of all three. The race sites are scattered throughout the country and include the Walt Disney World Marathon, the Boston Marathon and even the Honolulu Marathon. She describes the race course, as well as what to see and where to eat at your destination. Allen makes clear that her book is written for traveling marathoners, their spectators "and all those intrigued by the idea."



Surfing for a parking spot

Paying a premium for airport parking? ParkRideFlyUSA.com is a new site that lets travelers book a parking spot at 34 off-site airport parking facilities across the country at rates that beat many airport parking lots. For example, daily parking at New York's La Guardia Airport costs $30. ParkRideFlyUSA.com offers off-site parking with AviStar for $17.25 a day including shuttle service.



Riding high in Jiangxi province

China is reaching for the stars with the opening of what it says is the world's tallest Ferris wheel in the country's south. The 525-foot-high Star of Nanchang opened this month in a riverside park in Jiangxi province, the official Xinhua News Agency said. The wheel is a full 82 feet taller than the London Eye on the banks of the River Thames, which, according to the Guinness Book of Records, is the current record-holder. The ride is lit up with fluorescent red and blue lights. A full rotation of the wheel takes about 30 minutes.



Afram festival celebrates heritage

According to a 2004 Travel Industry of America survey, Norfolk, Va., is one of the top 10 destinations for African-Americans. In 1919, the Attucks Theatre was designed, developed, financed and operated by African-Americans. In 1938, the labor to convert a swamp into the Norfolk Botanical Garden was provided by more than 200 African-American women. For the 21st year, Norfolk celebrates its African-American heritage with a festival of visual arts, dance, music, literary arts and theater. Hours are noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and May 28, and noon to 6 p.m. May 29. Admission is $5, $10 for the weekend, free for seniors and children younger than 7. Downtown Norfolk. 757-216-7518. afram-fest.info.



Graco's Windsor Travel Lite Crib is a full-size, compact folding crib that weighs less than 20 pounds, making it great for car traveling -- or stashing in a closet at grandma's house. The bed comes with a top-nesting full-size bassinet with a quilted bumper pad for babies less than 15 pounds. After that, the baby can nestle in the bed proper on top of the quilted pad. The crib has sewn-in dust ruffles and comes with a partial canopy for blocking out harsh lights. Wheels on one end make for easy mobility. Graco Windsor Travel Lite Crib is $79.99. 800-345-4109; gracobaby.com.


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