Read past editions of Your AAA in the Archives
- A Global View of Fall Foliage
- Insurance Confidential: Coverage for All Life Stages
- The Top 10 in Las Vegas
- Save & Splurge: Cape May, N.J.
By George Morse
It’s easy to believe that the Northeast United States has a monopoly on fall foliage. Every year, leaf peepers from near and far flock here for leisurely hikes and scenic drives beset by treetops bursting with hues of yellow, orange and red. But there are places all over the world, some unexpected, where the change in seasons brings colorful and breathtaking landscapes. Here are photos of some of the most impressive.
Alaska: Mid-August through September
Foliage season here is brief but spectacular, and there are numerous ways to enjoy it. Hurricane Turn, connecting the town of Talkeetna with Hurricane Gulch, in summer, and Anchorage with Hurricane Gulch, in winter, is a popular train route for leaf peepers. Colorful vistas unfold in every direction while crossing Hurricane Gulch Bridge, the longest (918 feet) and tallest (296 feet) on the Alaska Railroad. By road, fall scenery abounds on Seward Highway at spots like Chugach State Park. It’s about 20 minutes south of Anchorage, and, if the time is right, offers picturesque lakes framed by fall’s best colors. Hikers have bountiful options among the state’s many national parks, including Wrangell-St. Elias.
Greece: September to October
A lot of Greek vacations center on beaches or historic sites, like the Parthenon. Those in search of foliage, however, should explore the country’s forests, which cover about a quarter of the country. Vikos-Aoos National Park in northwest Greece is one option. Experienced hikers can enjoy multiple trails, including a trek that provides sweeping views across the Vikos Gorge. The striking Konitsa Bridge, accented with striking blazes of orange, can be a good backdrop for selfies, while kayakers seeking a challenge – and a unique way of leaf peeping – can tackle the Aoos River.
Scotland: Mid-September through early October
Perthshire, sometimes called Big Tree Country, is a good place to start a foliage adventure. Check out walking trails and Black Linn Falls at the Hermitage, then stand on a footbridge and get surrounded by vivid colors in Killiecrankie gorge. Both areas are protected by a national trust. In October, the Enchanted Forest, a stunning light and sound display, takes place in Forestry Commission Scotland’s Faskally Wood.
Rhine River, Europe: Late September to early October
So much of what makes river cruising an unforgettable experience are the sights along the waterways. In the fall, vineyards lining the Rhine reflect the changing season with vibrant colors, as do trees surrounding centuries-old castles. Autumn shades also enhance the beautiful canals of Amsterdam, where many Rhine River cruises begin, and the surrounding bridges and architecture.
Kyoto, Japan: Mid-to late November
Kyoto may be best known for its cherry blossoms, but its fall foliage is also a sight to behold. Maple leaves morph into shades of amber, orange and a vibrant crimson. The city’s numerous temples, including Kiyomizu-dera and Ginkaku-ji, are unique places to take in the sights. Kiyomizu-dera offers a particularly wonderful view of the hills below. Kyoto Imperial Palace Park and Okochi Sanso Villa are also good options.
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By Roberto X. Cruz
Life is a road full of twists and turns. But no matter how far you are along the path, a life insurance policy can help protect those who mean the most to you. Here are some ways life insurance can help during the various stages of your life.
The average class of 2016 college graduate has roughly $37,000 of student loan debt, according Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of Cappex.com. If something happened to you, a life insurance policy could help out your co-signer or family, who may be saddled with your debts.
Life insurance benefits can help you or your spouse provide financially for your children in case one of you dies. It can be used to pay off debts, such as a mortgage, or put toward future college expenses for your children, said Steve Brochu, vice president of insurance for AAA Pioneer Valley.
In your 40s, you may make more money and live a more lavish lifestyle. You might also start writing checks for a college education for one or more of your children. This is a good time to review your life insurance policy to make sure your family could maintain its way of life should anything happen to you.
About 1 in 7 adults in their 40s and 50s provides financially for their children and aging parents. If that applies to you, you’re part of the sandwich generation. A life insurance policy could help your entire family afford care and living expenses should you die unexpectedly.
While it’s not easy to think about, life insurance can help your family pay for final expenses such as funeral and burial arrangements. But it’s best to shop for life insurance before you retire, Brochu said, since you can usually lock in more affordable rates when you’re younger. Return to Top
Whether you visit for vacation or business, you’ll quickly realize that this neon-lit desert city excites and entertains like no place else on earth. In Sin City, you’ll find everything from over-the-top shows and celebrity-chef-owned restaurants to surprisingly good shopping and stunning scenery at nearby Red Rock Canyon. Oh, and if you like to gamble, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s what we love most.
1.Music legends Celine Dion, Elton John, Diana Ross and Cher all regularly perform in Vegas. And if you were a Wayne Newton or Donny and Marie Osmond fan back in the day, they’re here, too.
2.Daring to look down (while sipping Champagne and not feeling dizzy) during the 30 minutes it takes each pod on the 550-foot-tall High Roller observation wheel to complete one rotation is a cool kind of thrill.
3.Visit quirky museums like the Mob Museum, dedicated to the town’s organized crime past; the Neon Museum, featuring gaudy signs saved from the trash heap; and the Pinball Hall of Fame for vintage arcade games.
4.Before you head to the shows or a casino, dine in one of the many celebrity-chef-owned restaurants, including Rivea from Alain Ducasse and Bobby’s Burger Palace from Food Network star Bobby Flay.
5.The hotel pool scene here goes beyond just cabanas and DJs. You’ll find marble statues at Caesars Palace’s Garden of the Gods pool oasis and a 1.6-million-gallon wave pool at Mandalay Bay Beach.
6.The Fountains of Bellagio at the Bellagio Las Vegas – which spout plumes of water as high as 460 feet in the air, synchronized to 30 different songs – are, amazingly, free.
7.Despite all of its man-made glory, Las Vegas is surrounded by a gorgeous desert landscape. Appreciate it up close at Red Rock Canyon, just 20 minutes away by car.
8.More than 100,000 couples get married in Vegas annually. Some recite their vows in front of Elvis, others in gondolas at The Venetian – making bride and groom spotting a recreational sport.
9.The Strip has some seriously good shopping – check out the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian and the Shops at Crystals in the CityCenter complex.
One of Vegas’ most exciting daytrips is a helicopter sightseeing excursion to the Grand Canyon. Seeing the canyon by air is an exciting way to appreciate America’s most famous natural wonder. Return to Top
If you close your eyes and picture a quaint seaside town, it might look like Cape May, N.J. One of the country’s first seaside resorts, it retains much of its 19th century charm. Victorian bed and breakfasts, a bustling promenade, expansive beaches and a picturesque lighthouse set it apart from the Jersey Shore. It’s most popular in summer, but fall has allure, too.
BudgetStay: The Victorian Motel combines affordability with friendly staff and a great location – near the beach and shopping. Other perks are an outdoor pool and an in-town parking pass.
Do:The beaches are inexpensive if you can avoid parking. Bicycle rentals are an affordable and pleasant way to see the city. Promenade strolls are free, save for a hot dog or ice cream.
Dine: Few affordable eateries stay open year-round. One good bet is Bella Vida Garden Cafe. Best known for its breakfast, it also offers lunch and dinner with an emphasis on seafood.
Mid-rangeStay: The Hotel Macomber is filled with charms including rocking chairs on the veranda overlooking the ocean. Retail shops, a coffee shop and a restaurant are all on-site.
Do: Tour Victorian mansions, check out Washington Street Mall for three blocks of outdoor shops, or catch a performance at Cape May Stage or East Lynne Theater Company.
Dine: The Mad Batter is a sought-after dinner spot for delicious crab dishes and a chic bar with live music. It’s attached to the Carroll Villa Hotel, where guests get breakfast for free.
Stay:Congress Hall is among the best luxury hotels in the U.S., so book early. Its many amenities include private beach tents, exercise classes, a pool and a tour of its 62-acre farm.
Do:See the city’s beauty and escape the crowds on an aerial tour. You can book an open-cockpit flight with Red Baron Air Tours or fly in a WWII-era plane with the NJ Warbirds.
Dine: For intimate fine dining try Blue Rose Inn & Restaurant, where every dish is made from scratch. The ravioli with duck confit and the gnocchi dishes are handmade with care. Return to Top