Explore your options for travel insurance

The summer travel season is in full swing and countless Minnesotans will be traveling across the country and around the world in the next few months.  
Some consumers will be debating about whether to purchase travel insurance for their summer vacations. The Minnesota Department of Commerce wants consumers to know that travel insurance is not required to travel; however, it may benefit some consumers but not all.


Make summer vacation happy with simple safety tips

Summer is officially underway and if you’re planning on traveling in the next few weeks, you’ll have a lot of company. The Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Statistics reports that in recent years, Americans have taken around 650 million long distance summer trips between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends. And the average summer long-distance trip is 284 miles one-way.


Raise a pint to Grand Rapids’ lesser-known culture: HOPS

Founders Brewing Company serves a variety of its beers in this family-friendly (until 9 p.m.) tap room. (photos by Pamela O’Meara/Review)

Founders serves up a rich, creamy oatmeal stout plus a lighter beer along with a bowl of beer cheese dip and chips.

Brewery Vivant is housed in an old funeral home -- hence the tongue-in-cheek “Vivant” or “Life” name -- with the bar where the former nave would have been.

This red door from the old Grand Rapids Brewery is now on display in the new brewery.

The Grand Rapids Brewery serves Silver Foam beer, which was popular in the early 1900s and recently brought back.

Named tops in the nation, breweries in Grand Rapids, Mich. celebrate with Beer Week.

I wonder if my grandparents are rolling over in their graves since their hometown of Grand Rapids, Mich., was recently named “Beer City U.S.A.” and one of the “Top 10 Vacation Cities for Beer Lovers.”


Bison, Badlands and ‘weird-looking buttes’

The setting sun puts a glow on the buttes and plains in Teddy Roosevelt National Park. (photos by Pamela O’Meara/Review)

Joe Wiegand performed as Teddy Roosevelt in in Medora’s Old Town Hall Theater last summer.

A bear rug adorns the floor of the Chateau de Mores in Medora, ND.

This drill rig is used for putting pipes in the ground to search for oil.

Teddy Roosevelt wrote at this desk while grieving over the deaths of his wife and mother.

This photo of Teddy Roosevelt was on a poster in Medora, ND.

This family-friendly performance of the Medora Musical pays tribute to Teddy Roosevelt and the Old West.

Bison meander on and off the road through Teddy Roosevelt National Park in ND.

At Pitchfork Steak Fondue in the hills of Medora, chefs cook ribeye steaks on pitchforks.

After immersing ourselves in President Theodore Roosevelt’s early life at the Old Town Hall in Medora, a friend and I drove a few miles to the entrance of the 70,416-acre national park named after him in western North Dakota. Visitors there can enjoy miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, campsites, abundant wildlife and buttes, tablelands, valleys and unusual rock formations leftover from glaciers, wind and rain.


Pamplona, Spain and Hemingway

This life-size bronze statue of the famous running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, shows the tension between the bulls and the men who jump in front to try to outrun them during the festival of Sanfermines each July. While many people are injured, only 15 have been killed in the last 100 years. (photos by Pamela O’Meara/Review)

The zampanzares jiggle their hips to jangle the giant brass bells on their backs during the festival of San Fermin Txikito in Pamplona.

Ernest Hemingway is featured in an old Paris magazine on display at the Museo del Encierro.

Balconies at the Gran Hotel La Perla in Pamplona, Spain, overlook the narrow street where the bulls run each July.

An ancient breed of black-headed sheep graze near old Roman burial circles in the Pyrenees northeast of Pamplona.

My balcony at the Gran Hotel La Perla in Pamplona, Spain, overlooked a narrow street lined with 18th century yellow, blue, tan and pink buildings along the route of the running of the bulls during the July festival of Sanfermines.


Pastor follows steps of thousand-year pilgrimage

From the windy, lonely hills of the Pyrenees to the narrow Pamplona streets and through villages, poppy fields and farms across northern Spain, pilgrims with walking sticks and packs hike along the Camino de Santiago -- the Way of St. James. Their destination is Santiago de Compostela, where legend says the remains of St. James are buried. A magnificent cathedral was built on the site in the 11th and 12th centuries.
The steps of pilgrims stretch back unbroken to the 800s; reportedly the pilgrimages continued through the centuries, although with fewer people, even during wartime.