Susan McNerney
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The Caribelle Batik factory on St. Kitts in the Caribbean. A must-see if traveling to the island. The factory produces stunning batiks by hand and has a tempting (and enormous) gift shop. But outside, the views of Victorian architecture juxtaposed against tropical gardens and the sea is priceless. More at Northernword.com/caribbean.

The Caribelle Batik factory on St. Kitts in the Caribbean. A must-see if traveling to the island. The factory produces stunning batiks by hand and has a tempting (and enormous) gift shop. But outside, the views of Victorian architecture juxtaposed against tropical gardens and the sea is priceless. More at Northernword.com/caribbean.

McGregor, Iowa on a fall afternoon. The town features a historic street with some antique shops as well as River Junction Trade Co., a fascinating shop that sells period clothes. If you're looking for that True Grit look they've got you covered. Other attractions include the nearby Pike's Peak and the Mississippi River.

McGregor, Iowa on a fall afternoon. The town features a historic street with some antique shops as well as River Junction Trade Co., a fascinating shop that sells period clothes. If you're looking for that True Grit look they've got you covered. Other attractions include the nearby Pike's Peak and the Mississippi River.

Fall trees at Pike's Peak State Park in Northeastern Iowa.

Fall trees at Pike's Peak State Park in Northeastern Iowa.

Sumac in early fall. Photo taken from Pike's Peak State Park in Iowa looking across the Mississippi toward Wisconsin.

Sumac in early fall. Photo taken from Pike's Peak State Park in Iowa looking across the Mississippi toward Wisconsin.

A view of the sprawling Mississippi from Pike's Peak overlook in Northeastern Iowa. Early fall.

A view of the sprawling Mississippi from Pike's Peak overlook in Northeastern Iowa. Early fall.

The view from Pike's Peak in Northeastern Iowa. Yes, the OTHER Pike's Peak. The Mississippi spreads out below and unless you look closely, the scene appears much as it did hundreds of years ago. We were there on a beautiful fall day.

The view from Pike's Peak in Northeastern Iowa. Yes, the OTHER Pike's Peak. The Mississippi spreads out below and unless you look closely, the scene appears much as it did hundreds of years ago. We were there on a beautiful fall day.

Square Tower house at Mesa Verde. If you can visit this park on a sunny spring afternoon, the light is exactly right.

Square Tower house at Mesa Verde. If you can visit this park on a sunny spring afternoon, the light is exactly right.

A wider view of the Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde with a tour group gathered on the terrace.

A wider view of the Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde with a tour group gathered on the terrace.

A view of Cliff Palace at mesa Verde National Park in the late afternoon. Our tour was led by a ranger who was a member of the Hopi tribe. The Hopi, along with other Pueblo peoples, are believed to be the descendants of the ancient cliff dwellers.

A view of Cliff Palace at mesa Verde National Park in the late afternoon. Our tour was led by a ranger who was a member of the Hopi tribe. The Hopi, along with other Pueblo peoples, are believed to be the descendants of the ancient cliff dwellers.

A cliff dwelling at Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado. If you go, book your tours with the rangers and drive yourself around. We found the bus tour slow and unnecessary.

A cliff dwelling at Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado. If you go, book your tours with the rangers and drive yourself around. We found the bus tour slow and unnecessary.