News You Can Use



We often receive pitches from various companies that want us to plug their products. Sometimes we agree to take a look, but if the product doesn’t strike us as exceptional, we don’t review it. Our allegiance is to you, the reader.

Here, three products worthy of note:

 Loopit makes ear buds fashionable and, more important, tangle-free. The wires are cleverly threaded through a linked aluminum chain, which means they can be hung around your neck as a necklace or stuffed in a bag without tangling. Either way, they’ll help you through a long plane trip without getting either knotted or lost. An added bonus: as the metal is aluminum, it won’t set off alarms at airport security.

 Nap Anywhere is a non-pillow designed to make snoozing comfortable, or at least bearable even if you’re stuck in the economy section during on a long flight. It replaces the bulky neck support pillows that wrap around your neck and push your head forward. Instead it supports your head in an upright position. Give it a look:

 Rest-Rite helps quiet the snorer in your bed, opening the airways and making side-sleep more comfortable. A box consists of seven super-lightweight sleep positioners that adhere to the boy with a medical grade adhesive. Perfect for travelers who don’t want to cart along heavier, more cumbersome devices.


The Stephen Foster Story, a musical extravaganza that tells the story of one of America’s most influential songwriters, will be presented in an outdoor amphitheater in Bardstown, KY on select dates between June 10 and August 12. The show, which has been performed annually for nearly 60 years, includes renditions of such Foster favorites as “Oh Susanna!” “Camptown Races” and, of course, “My Old Kentucky Home,” which is the Kentucky state song. For details and tickets, go to

The World Traveler Coloring Book by Thaneeya McArdle has fill-ins for sites from the Taj Mahal to the Palazzo Vecchio, a Norwegian Stave Church to a Victorian house in San Francisco. The images aren’t overly complex — a meticulous eight year old would enjoy them — but they’re detailed enough to hold the interest of an adult. Another good book in the series, “More Good Vibes,” is not site-specific but contains images that will hold special appeal for the traveler. Both highly recommended for long plane rides. Published by Fox Chapel Publishing.

The Canadaland Guide to Canada is an entertaining spoof that could only be written by a native, in this case Canadian journalist Jesse Brown. He turns his wit on our “beige” neighbor with discussions on his country’s “estranged, infirm British mother,” its animals, which include the Canadian goose (a“giant, feathered sky insect that regularly flies directly into engines and the windshields of airplanes,” and moose (“a woodland jihadist.”) Recommended only for those with a wry sense of humor and unremitting love for the country to our north. Published by Touchstone.

— Georgia has been honored by The National Geographic Traveler as a place for great American music. For more on Macon, which was singled out for special mention, see “Song and Soul of the South” in the Featured Specials section of this website. For more on things to do in Georgia, see both the Napkin Notes section as well as the state’s consumer tourism website:

 Jeptha Creed, a new distillery that offer delightfully distinctive flavors such as a honey-tinged vodka and a lemonade-flavored moonshine is now open for tours and tastings. Located on a 64-acre farm, it’s the first locally-owned distillery to come to Shelby County since Prohibition. For more on Shelbyville, which is one of the stops on Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail, watch for “From Flapjacks to Moonpies” that will be posted in the Featured Special section of this website in January. For more on Kentucky in general, see the Napkin Notes section.

DK’s Eyewitness Travel is updating their series of Top Ten Pocket Guides, which discuss the “top ten” places to sleep, eat, sightsee and so forth. But better than the lists are the top-notch illustrations, maps (including a handy pull-out map) and just enough background info to put all the Top Tens in context. Several of books — including London, Paris, Washington D.C. and New York City — are already in bookstores. Others are being released on a rolling schedule through 2018.

 The Hopi Arts Trail is a new affiliation of artists and galleries that aims to help visitors understand the culture of the Hopi people of northern Arizona. An Arts Trail map is available for do-it-yourselfers, but for added insight, tour guides certified by the Hopi tribe will introduce non-Natives to Hopi artists and explain the significance of such traditional crafts as Kachina dolls, baskets, and jewelry.

National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas is one of the most fascinating, well-done, museums in the country. Phase I of a major renovation of the Pacific Combat Zone has just been completed, and several state-of-the-art exhibits, including a torpedo bomber similar to the one flown by former President George H.W. Bush, are on display. This means there’s plenty to see right now, but the incredibly popular living history re-enactments aren’t scheduled to resume until spring, 2017. For the latest information, go to

— Branson, Missouri has a new attraction, the 150-foot tall Ferris wheel that was formerly at Navy Pier in Chicago. Featuring forty gondolas, each of which holds six passengers, the wheel promises to be a hit with the thousands of visitors who come to this Ozark town for shows, sports and all-round family fun.

The Southern Food and Beverage Institute, an exemplary New Orleans’ museum that explores the culinary heritage of the South, has been renamed the National Food & Beverage Foundation. The transition to expand their focus is underway and promises exciting new offerings. Keep up to date by checking its website frequently.