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Sledding at Great Sand Dunes National Park
No, you don't do this in a desert locale. The biggest sand dunes in the U.S. are in Colorado. Read about this fascinating park in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. 

Midwest Traveler: Devil's Lake may be Midwest's best climbing spot
I'm afraid of heights, but I tried my hand at climbing and was surprised at how enjoyable, albeit tough, it was. See what you think after reading my piece in the Minneapolis Star Tribune  

How easy is it to spot a moose on Isle Royale? You'll see what it took for my hubby and me after reading this story in the Minneapolis Star Tribune  

D.C. shines in the off-season

When I went to Washington, D.C. last February, I discovered a pleasant surprise. Read about it in this article I wrote for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Island Disputes
Think the U.S. and Canada are fast friends? They are, save for one tiny rock. Intrigued? Take a gander at this piece in Islands magazine.  

Newfoundland's coast is iceberg alley
If icebergs fascinate you, head to Newfoundland's Iceberg Alley late spring or early summer. To find out what's in store, read about my experience iceberg-peeping in this Minneapolis Star Tribune article.

Grand Canyon's Quiet Side
Next time you're thinking of visiting the Grand Canyon, check out the little-visited Havasupai Canyon, where the Havasupai tribe still resides. It's a great experience, as you'll see in this Minneapolis Star Tribune article.

The Lands of Ahhs ...
When I recently visited Iceland's famous Blue Lagoon, it was raining. Still, it was a very cool (um, hot?) experience. Some Icelanders say it keeps them going into their 80s and beyond, as you'll see in this        Islands piece.

Bay of Fundy's ups and downs
Ever heard of the Bay of Fundy? Did you know its tides are the highest in the world? See what it's like to experience them on land and on sea in this Minneapolis Star Tribune article.

A Journey through Wisconsin's Ice Age Trail
This piece on the Ice Age Trail is targeted at trail runners, as it was published in the September 2014 issue of -- what else? -- Trail Runner magazine.  

Catholic History Anchors Biloxi-Gulf Coast
Know anything about the Gulf Coast's Catholic history? Yes, it has one. Read about it in this piece that ran in the July 15, 2014 issue of the National Catholic Register.

Breathtaking moments along the Ice Age Trail
Can't stop writing about my adventure on the Ice Age Trail! This piece came out in July 2014 in the Minneapolis Star Tribune

Arkansas museum looks at Japanese internment camp
Did you know there were two Japanese-American internment camps in Arkansas? I didn't until I toured a museum dedicated to preserving the story of this dark chapter in American history. See what it's like by reading this July 2014 story that ran in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
 

Trail Blazing
Do you have what it takes to hike/run 1,100 miles? For an idea of what it's like, read about my recent trek along Wisconsin's Ice Age National Scenic Trail, published in the July 2014 issue of Madison Magazine. 

Wisconsin Dells offers wave of new amusements
There's always something new in Wisconsin Dells. Check out 2014's additions in this Minneapolis Star Tribune story.  

The real deal from the New Deal: Johnny Cash's boyhood home
A trip to Arkansas a few months ago led to the discovery of Johnny Cash's boyhood home, which has been restored and opens to the public in May. For a little background, read this story in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Along the Natchez Trace Parkway
Read about my epic adventure pedaling along the gorgeous Natchez Trace Parkway in this piece that ran in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Capital's Colorful Cathedral
If you enjoy touring cathedrals, check out this beauty in Sacramento via my article in the National Catholic Register.

5 ways to hack-proof your life
After researching this piece for HLNTV.com, I'm sure glad my niece recently showed me how to lock my phone!

Frozen in Time
See how I fared in a frosty 15K by reading this February 2014 Runner's World article.

Top Guided Wine Tours in Spain's Canary Islands
Yes, good wine is made in the Canaries. Read about tours in this USA Today article of mine.

See the top guided wine tours in Northern Spain
Check out this piece I wrote, which is on USA Today's new "Experience Food and Wine" site.

A date with the Dells
If you think Wisconsin Dells is only about water parks, you're missing out. Couples reconnect at wineries, restaurants and posh lodgings surrounded by gorgeous foliage. Check it out in the September/October 2013 issue of Midwest Living.

Enduring Allure
Glam Lake Geneva's charms are revealed in this Out & About piece in the May/June 2013 issue of Midwest Living.

Follow the trail
See what's so great about Indianapolis' new Cultural Trail in this Travel Getaways article in the May/June 2013 issue of Midwest Living.

 

McManus Named 2011 Lowell Thomas Gold
Award Winner

My story On the Backs of Giants won a gold Lowell Thomas Award for Best Environmental Tourism Article. The story was published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and included several of my photos. The award came through the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation Excellence in Travel Journalism Contest, and is considered the most prestigious in the travel writing field.

 

 

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I was recently honored to be named the 2015 Lowell Thomas Travel Journalist of the Year, honorable mention. The Lowell Thomas awards are considered the most prestigious awards given for travel journalism in North America.

 

Hello.

I'm a freelance writer and editor specializing in travel and fitness, although I cover many other subjects, too. I began my career writing for national consumer magazines and major newspapers, added in corporations and websites, seeded a wiki on marathoning and published two travel apps (on Wisconsin Dells and Spain's Via de la Plata pilgrimage trail). I'm a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) and the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW), and in my spare time I love to travel and compete in any type of running event or adventure race. (And sometimes both.) Please explore the rest of my website to find out more about me and my work.

Melanie