NORTH CONWAY — I’ve been afraid of ghosts, vampires, werewolves and zombies for my entire life. While other kids watched horror movies at birthday slumber parties, I hid behind the sofa, and pretended to pick lint balls off the rug. After reading “Rosemary’s Baby” during high school, I slept…

Weeks before I actually headed to Mammoth Cave National Park for a weekend trip, and a day after I’d booked several guided cave tours, I encircled my chest with a tape measure. I was relieved to confirm I’d be an OK fit — quite literally, if just barely — for the Wild Cave Tour, the longest,…

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Jay McDowell is a nerd, he’s quick to point out. The head nerd, in fact, of the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville. Or at least that’s what the multimedia archivist, the official title on his snazzy black and gold business card, calls himself as he leads a grou…

WASHINGTON — If the weather is perfect, say a temperate day in spring or fall, with a gentle breeze and a few clouds in the sky to break the glare of the sun, then the National Mall is a lovely place. But look at how locals use it the rest of the year: People flock to benches along the edges…

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