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Women of the watersSally Ransom Knecht, TimoniumThese...


Women of the waters

Sally Ransom Knecht, Timonium

These elegant, windblown ladies carved of wood sit on the stern of the Mississippi Queen riverboat as it makes its way up the Ohio River. The wooden figures -- one Caucasian, one African-American -- represent the joining of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. We fell in love with the relaxed style of riverboating.


A stay at 'The Shining' hotel

Tom Flynn


I recently took a vacation to Colorado with an old friend. Because our lives are usually so heavily scheduled, we purposely left our agenda open-ended. We would travel around the mountain region north and west of Denver and see what we came across.

We caught an early flight, and by late morning, we were in Denver. From there we headed northwest in the general direction of Rocky Mountain National Park. After touring the beautiful Roosevelt National Forest, we came upon the town of Estes Park. It was late afternoon and we had no place yet to stay. We would soon need to make our first attempt at securing accommodation on the fly.

As the sun set, I spotted a majestic old hotel hovering on a hillside just above the town's main street. I was struck by a feeling of having seen the place before. I said to my friend John, "That place looks like it's straight out of 'The Shining,' " the best-selling ghost story written by Stephen King that was later made into a movie starring Jack Nicholson. John thought I was seeing ghosts myself.

After striking out on several places to stay, we decided to check out the hotel on the hill that I had seen earlier. The name of the place was the Stanley, built in 1909 by automobile mogul F.O. Stanley. Stanley was ill with tuberculosis and had come west seeking the dry mountain air.

There was a vacancy, and we were able to book a room inexpensively. Our on-the-fly strategy had proven successful. We had gotten a bargain at a luxury hotel. Or had we?

After checking into our room, I explored the hotel and learned the Stanley's history. It was a cold winter's night spent in this very hotel that had inspired Stephen King to pen "The Shining."

We were going to be spending a night at "The Shining" hotel.

I am not easily spooked, but when the lights went out and the wind howled eerily, let's just say I gained a keen insight into what had inspired King.

Morning thankfully came, and the sun rose over the Rockies. A cup of coffee in the hotel lobby, a look out onto the hotel's view of the snow-capped mountains, and all thoughts of spirits were dispelled.

Tom Flynn lives in Ellicott City.


Cripple Creek, Colorado

Sylvia Beser, Baltimore

"I have traveled the country, sketching, photographing and painting. One July day in Colorado, we took off into the mountains in search of picturesque mining towns. We found Cripple Creek, a charming, old gambling town, where, with my first quarter, I hit the jackpot."


Kimberly Axtell, Baltimore

"I knew my two-week safari to East Africa would provide lasting memories. You can research and poll others who have gone, but you can't really know how the trip will affect you. That's something you have to experience for yourself. This was absolutely my favorite trip of all."


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