Retreat with your valentine
If you’re looking for a private, romantic retreat to the mountains in February, consider the Outlook Lodge in Green Mountain Falls, Colo. Originally constructed in 1889, the rustic retreat’s suites have been updated recently with all sorts of indulgent comforts while maintaining the lodge’s rustic appeal — think Wi-Fi in the wilderness. The “Romance Complement” (an additional $60 added to your reservation) piles on even more charms, including a rose-petal turndown, a bottle of champagne, a s’mores roasting kit and his-and-hers plush bathrobes. The lodge is northwest of Colorado Springs at an elevation of 7,800 feet. For prices and reservations, call 855-463-2557 or visit www.outlookgmf.com.
Seeing small-town Texas
If you enjoy the back roads of the Lone Star State, consider Rural Texas Tourism, which is planning a number of tours this year. Among the offerings: “Saints and Souls,” which tells the stories of German and Czech settlers while crossing the rural roads of Weimar, Schulenburg, La Grange, Flatonia and other nearby areas; “Kolaches, Kollections, Kuisine,” which focuses on food and shopping while incorporating the histories of small rural communities; and “Rails, Artists, Outlaws,” which visits Flatonia and incorporates the art of Gene Mikulik. For tours and more information, call 979-561-6667 or visit www.ruraltexastourism.com.
— Kristin Finan, Austin American-Statesman
For U.S. history buffs
Make plans now to visit the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., this summer when the original, handwritten manuscript of The Star-Spangled Banner and the flag that inspired the song’s lyrics will be displayed together. The exhibit, which begins June 14, or Flag Day, is the first time the historic pieces are believed to have been shown side by side. The three-week display is the start of celebrations marking 200 years since the song was written on Sept. 14, 1814. The manuscript is normally on display at the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore, and the flag has been at the Smithsonian since the early 1900s. http://www.si.edu/
— The Associated Press
New-old travel guides
Arthur Frommer and daughter Pauline bought back the Frommer’s series from Google last year and have put out the first of 30 new titles, banking on travelers who prefer printed real books over flighty apps. Among the first are “Boston Day by Day” and “Frommer’s Easy Guide to Paris 2014.” (FrommerMedia, $13.95 and $10.95 respectively.) A new Easy Guide series aims to be light and succinct, weighing only a few ounces, and “you can wad them up in your pocket or purse,” Arthur Froomer says. The point is to help travelers swamped by too much travel information, the authors say.
— Ellen Creager, Detroit Free Press