Travel, new and now: Historic bars, restored California hot springs resort, Amish mud sales


What's your favorite historic bar? The National Trust for Historic Preservation wants to know.

The organization is launching a March Madness-inspired bracket of 32 historic bars, including tiki bars, taverns, cocktail lounges, beer gardens, sports bars and dive bars. The public is invited to vote for favorites in four weekly matchups — from the initial 32 to a Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight and Final Four — to determine which will advance to the next round. The winner will be announced the first week of April.

Candidates for the contest, called The Big Tap, include New Orleans' Lafitte Blacksmith Shop Bar, the Salty Dawg Saloon in Homer, Alaska, and Tycoons Alehouse & Eatery, a former speakeasy in Duluth, Minnesota.

Competitors were chosen based on research by National Trust staff and crowd-sourced suggestions on social media.

Winners of each weekly matchup round will receive banners from the National Trust and other promotional items proclaiming their status as one of America's favorite historic bars.

To vote in The Big Tap, visit



A hot springs resort in Northern California has reopened a year after being destroyed by wildfire.

The blaze destroyed 23 bedrooms on the upper floors of the historic 1915 hotel at Wilbur Hot Springs in rugged Colusa County on March 29, 2014.

The first floor of the hotel was restored, but instead of replacing the upper floors, the resort built cottages, including seven duplex cabins that house up to two people in each of the 14 units, and a large suite cabin that accommodates four. The units were designed by Cavco Industries, which produces vacation cabins and park model RVs, but they were custom-designed for the lodge with oak floors, pine ceilings, built-in desks, private baths and scenic views.

Guests bring their own food to prepare in a spacious community kitchen, but once a month, a guest chef makes five meals featuring locally sourced products.

The resort is also off-grid — cell phones don't work there and there is no Internet access for guests. With the nearest town 22 miles away, the resort is also known for starry skies.

Many guests are from the San Francisco Bay area, about 2 ½ hours away, but the hot mineral springs and nature preserve attract visitors from around the world. Prices begin at $215 per night, midweek single occupancy rate. Details at .



When the snow melts and the spring thaw begins, it's mud season. And that's when Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, known for its local Amish community, holds its annual Mud Sales.

The sales raise funds for volunteer fire companies and attract crowds looking for everything from Amish quilts and antiques to lumber, buggies and lawn equipment.

The sales take place from late February to mid-April, with a few more other times of year. Most begin at 8 or 8:30 a.m. with activities all day long. Pennsylvania Dutch food specialties are typically sold as well, from Dutch chicken corn soup to funnel cakes.

For dates, parking arrangements and details, visit .