Skiers may find 'green' slopes

Some resorts using clean energy to lessen impact on environment

The Smart Traveler

December 03, 2006

DENVER

THE OZARKS:

AN EXPLORER'S GUIDE

The Countryman Prress / $19.95

The Ozarks is a vast region that covers part of two states: Missouri and Arkansas. But nowadays it seems most people associate it with just one town, wildly popular Branson, Mo., considered by many to be the Nashville of the Ozarks. As this guidebook makes clear, though, there is much more to the area. You'll find all kinds of things here: antique shops, bluegrass music (of course), caves (an estimated 5,500 in the Missouri Ozarks, 2,000 in the Arkansas Ozarks), Civil War battlefields, wineries and even the Wal-Mart Visitors Center. It features detailed descriptions, too, of where to stay and eat.

JUNE SAWYER

NEW JERSEY

Casinos booming in Atlantic City

Two new casinos are being proposed for Atlantic City, N.J., which appears to be poised for a building boom. Since the Borgata opened in 2003, upscale restaurants and high-end shopping have become a big part of the city. A $3 billion resort is planned to replace the aging Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, and another casino is being proposed as part of a deal to buy 11 acres of Boardwalk property. More recently, a developer bought the Sands Casino with plans to tear it down and replace it with a new one.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

HOTELS & DINING

Consumers irked by poor service

Poor service is the top gripe of consumers surveyed for two new Zagat guidebooks -- the 2007 Top U.S. Hotels, Resorts & Spas and America's Top Restaurants. Asked what irritates them most about the hotels, resorts and spas they visit, poor service was named by 55 percent of the 14,461 frequent travelers who supplied opinions for the hotel guide, and by 72 percent of the 123,000 people who contributed to the restaurant guide. In the hotel guide, the Peninsula Chicago was rated the No. 1 large hotel, while the Four Seasons Big Island, Hawaii, was rated the top large resort.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

GEAR & GADGETS

Portable speakers are nothing new, but this set has a programmable alarm clock attached -- plus a docking station for charging and playing an iPod, and a jack and cable for any audio device with a headphone jack. The iHome2Go, which is about the size of a thick hardcover novel, features a pair of 3 1 / 2-inch-diagonal stereo speakers that pop up from the clock base. The speakers, which run on four AA batteries (not included) provide exceptionally full, vibrant sound. The digital clock runs on the included AC wall adapter, with an included 3-volt lithium battery as a backup. A padded travel pouch also is included. iHome2Go is $100 from SCI. 800-288-2792 or ihomeaudio.com.

JUDI DASH

AFRICA

Shining spotlight on Malawi's plight

While the legal right of Madonna to adopt an African boy may be a matter of some debate, no one is disputing that she has raised the profile of Malawi and charitable volunteer trips to that impoverished country. "What ends up in the news, such as this Madonna story, helps bring these issues into people's consciousness," said Amy Bannon of Volunteers for Peace, a nonprofit group in Vermont. Her organization offers more than 3,000 short-term voluntary service projects in more than 100 countries. Volunteers work on projects such as creating a soccer field or installing a floor in a youth center. Placements cost $250, excluding flights, as well as a $250 contribution on arrival. Call 802-259-2759 or go to www.vfp.org.

NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

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