Whitewater bonanza

Recent rains have made rafting down Mid-Atlantic state rivers a real trip

The Smart Traveler

July 23, 2006

THERE IS AN UPSIDE TO the downpours that flooded the Middle Atlantic states last month: River rafting conditions are better than usual for this time of year.

After effectively shutting down recreational rafting, canoeing and kayaking in popular spots such as those along the Delaware River in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, the heavy rains have ensured an ample water supply for much of the summer season -- and, in some cases, have enhanced rafting conditions.

THERE IS ROOM AT THE INN: INNS AND B&BS FOR WHEELERS AND SLOW WALKERS

Demos Medical Publishing / $21.95

Inns and bed-and-breakfasts are known for their coziness and intimacy, but for physically disabled travelers, charm can only go so far. Candy B. Harrington, founder of the accessible travel magazine Emerging Horizons, knows this all too well. There Is Room at the Inn is her attempt to remedy the dearth of information available on nontraditional lodging. It features reviews of more than 100 accommodations in 40 states, from Victorian inns to B&Bs to mountain retreats, and even includes a dude ranch and two safari parks. It includes a checklist of questions prospective travelers need to ask on such issues as entry, parking, accessible guest rooms and public rooms.

JUNE SAWYERS

WASHINGTON

Look into the mouth of a volcano

Climbers returned to the crater rim of Mount St. Helens last week for the first time in nearly two years to witness the active volcano's smoldering marriage of science and recreation. The mountain has been off-limits to climbers since it began erupting in September 2004. Although it is still in an eruptive phase, national forest officials have determined it is safe to climb. Permits are $22 and available online from the Mount St. Helens Institute at mshin stitute.org.

TACOMA, WASH. NEWS TRIBUNE

GEAR & GADGETS

Adventure Medical Kits packs a slew of useful first aid items into its tiny Go! Travel medical kit. The tri-fold wallet-style kit is less than an inch thick when closed. It opens to reveal three plastic compartments stuffed with packets of antibiotic ointment, antiseptic towelettes, butterfly closure strips, moleskin, adhesive bandages, Extra Strength Tylenol, Motrin, antihistamine tablets, antacids and a metal forceps for removing splinters or ticks. The nylon housing fastens via Velcro and has a built-in plastic clip for attaching to a belt loop or key chain. Go! Travel personal medical kit is $9.95. 800-324-3517; adventuremedicalkits.com.

JUDI DASH

TRENDS

Hilton ads focus on gay community

Hilton Hotels unveiled an ad campaign last month aimed at the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities. The ads will run in a variety of gay publications through the summer with the tagline "Come As You Are ... Fabulous." Travelocity, which has offered a database of gay-friendly hotels for about a year, recently updated its site to include properties certified by Community Marketing, a gay-tourism marketing company. Certified hotels must, among other things, enforce nondiscrimination policies. In May, PlanetOut, a gay online and magazine publishing company, presented awards to bring attention to an industry increasingly opening doors to gay travelers. Among the winners were American Airlines, Hyatt Hotels and Resorts and Crystal Cruises.

NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

PENNSYLVANIA

Re-enacting slave history

The story of Hannah Till, a slave who cooked for George Washington and his troops during the grueling winter at Valley Forge, has largely gone untold -- until now. Every Saturday through Aug. 19, re-enactors will bring the stories of Till and other black Colonials to life at the Valley Forge National Historical Park, as part of the park's African American Freedom and Fun weekends. The Valley Forge Convention and Visitors Bureau is offering packages at five area hotels that include free admission to Washington's Headquarters Museum. For information, go to valleyforge.org / quest.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

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