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Peter Mandel
Peter Mandel is a travel journalist and the author of eleven books for kids including Jackhammer Sam (Macmillan), Zoo Ah-Choooo (Holiday House), Bun, Onion, Burger (Simon & Schuster), Planes at the Airport (Scholastic), and Say Hey! A Song of Willie Mays (Hyperion). A regular contributor to the travel sections of The Washington Post and The Boston Globe, he often writes about the misadventures he's gotten stuck in--including experiencing a coup in Ecuador, trying to hike a suburban strip mall, suiting up as a theme park character, seeing America by metered cab, and kayaking to the Statue of Liberty. Originally from Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood, Mandel finds himself living in Providence these days with his wife, Kathy, and cats, Betty, Emily and Cecil. He's written cranky essays and op-eds for Reader's Digest, The Los Angeles Times, The International Herald Tribune, and The Wall Street Journal, and has won a few Lowell Thomas awards from the Society of American Travel Writers, including a 2005 gold for adventure travel article of the year. Check him out at or:

Entries by Peter Mandel

The Time of Their LIFE: Fun at the Office in the 1960s

(1) Comments | Posted October 26, 2015 | 4:58 PM

The mysterious, mostly disappeared world of LIFE magazine is all still there: Staffers hacking at typewriters, beefing about the managing editor, draining double Scotches and martinis before lunch.

At least in my mind it's still there.

You want to talk publishing...
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The Appalachian Trail by Rent-a-Car (Part 2)

(0) Comments | Posted September 28, 2015 | 3:08 PM

The Appalachian Trail is back in the news these days, thanks to the release of "A Walk in the Woods," the new movie starring Robert Redford and Nick Nolte and based on Bill Bryson's classic book. Some of us have indelible memories of our experiences on the trail. Here's the...

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A Drive in the Woods: The Appalachian Trail by Rent-a-Car

(0) Comments | Posted September 3, 2015 | 4:10 PM

The Appalachian Trail is back in the news these days, thanks to the release of "A Walk in the Woods," the new movie starring Robert Redford and Nick Nolte and based on Bill Bryson's classic book. Some of us have indelible memories of our experiences on the trail. Here's my...

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Battle of the Falls: Is the N.Y. Side of Niagara Better Than Canada?

(1) Comments | Posted August 17, 2015 | 4:08 PM

Will the real Niagara Falls please stand up?

Are you Canada's family destination, its Disney and Vegas tumbled into one? Or are you the lounge club and calzone capital of Upstate New York?

Niagara, you used to have newlyweds in Ramblers with tin cans jangling behind. You had New Yorkers...

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Crossing 'The Pond' to Europe? For Once, Make it Real

(1) Comments | Posted July 27, 2015 | 5:47 PM

Like so much else in life, travel changes its shape slowly. There aren't any announcements from the bridge that things will be different, now that you've sailed or flown into a new world. E-tickets take over from the cardboard kind, upstart airlines elbow out the big traditional names, and we...

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Celebrating July 4th in France

(1) Comments | Posted July 1, 2015 | 3:31 PM

It's the July 4th weekend. My wife, Kathy, and I have a bag full of red, white and blue pinwheels, some Stars and Stripes-brand snack cakes and a packet of mini-flags. We're nearly set for a holiday blowout in the country.

Strangely, none of the stores is stocked with...

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Father's Day: Remembering the LIFE of a Dad Who Died Young

(1) Comments | Posted June 17, 2015 | 3:48 PM

When someone says the word "bravery" out loud it sounds like it's from a book on noblemen or knights. I can almost hear the clank of sword on shield.

Call it medieval if you want, but I believe in trying to be brave.

When I was eight, my...

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The Nine Secret Cities of Newport, R.I.

(3) Comments | Posted May 27, 2015 | 7:18 PM

Getting to know Newport, Rhode Island, is -- how should I put this? -- just a bit different from touring around other famous resorts. You were thinking a quick walk-through of The Breakers or another summer mansion? Think again. Newport, you see, has no less than nine cities to explore....

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Schools That Teach to the Arts, Not to the Test

(0) Comments | Posted May 1, 2015 | 4:28 PM

The houses are haunted
By white night-gowns.
None are green,
Or purple with green rings,
Or green with yellow rings,
Or yellow with blue rings.

--From "Disillusionment of Ten O'Clock" by Wallace Stevens

When it comes to conformity -- to looking and living alike...

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A Tour of 'Mini-Beantowns' Shows the Sprouts From Boston's Seeds

(0) Comments | Posted April 20, 2015 | 6:33 PM

One of the things about Boston is that there's a bit of it wherever you go. Sox caps crop up in Chicago. Harvard T-shirts glide past on the Grand Canal. And when dessert is served in Georgia or Alabama, a chocolate-topped cream pie is liable to appear.

Because of...

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These Unlikely Heroes Are...Wait for It...The World's Top Fact-Checkers

(0) Comments | Posted March 30, 2015 | 3:10 PM

Ladies and gentlemen (or to avoid being gender-specific) members of The American Copy-Editors and Fact-Checkers Guild: It is my pleasure to welcome each one of you and, of course, "you" in the plural sense, to this evening's Hall of Fame Banquet.

This year's slate of inductees is second-to-none--that's a cliché,...

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High Tea in Hangzhou: China's Prettiest City

(0) Comments | Posted March 16, 2015 | 8:44 PM

There is a button you must push to enter China. The guard at Hangzhou passport control is pointing. I am in a fog from jet lag after flights from Boston, Vancouver, and Hong Kong, but I must press.

"You are very happy with this desk?" he asks. "Not too...

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'My Struggle' in Reading Karl Ove Knausgaard in The New York Times Magazine

(9) Comments | Posted March 2, 2015 | 2:45 PM

My copy of Sunday's New York Times Magazine flopped open by sheer accident to a feature that started off like this:

"I lost my driver's license over a year ago. I lose stuff all the time. Credit cards, passports, car keys, cash, books, bags, laptops. It doesn't worry me, they...
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To See What Your Kids Are Missing, Crack This Book

(3) Comments | Posted February 16, 2015 | 1:56 PM

Talk to a teacher. Have a chat with a parent. Even a pre-teen can tell you: Educational standards and high expectations are the order of our day.

Let's suppose that you borrowed one ten-year-old from the 1920s, and another from 2015. You emptied their pockets, weighed their bookpacks, and...

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Antarctica: To the White Continent by Ice-Blue Sea

(0) Comments | Posted February 2, 2015 | 3:08 PM

We are on a bus, which is carrying us to a port, where we will load up a ship. Nothing unusual about that.

Nothing strange, except for our fat wool hats, our puffy penguin-y parkas, our knee-high insulated boots. Nothing weird but where we are: Punta Arenas at the...

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Northern Secrets: What the Danes, Swedes and Dutch Do in Winter

(2) Comments | Posted January 6, 2015 | 3:06 PM

Does Northern Europe exist in snow? The travel industry says no. Ski areas aside, most tours and cruises adventure to Scandinavia, Germany and the Netherlands in June and July, when the days are stretched out and soft, like fondue that's been melted in a pot.

Like you, I enjoy a...

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How Christmas Is Made: Behind the Scenes at Germany's Famous Markets

(0) Comments | Posted December 8, 2014 | 3:26 PM

It's the geographic question of the season. When -- and exactly, where -- does Christmas begin?

Some make pilgrimages to find the first orange leaf of fall. But I am in search of December. North Pole workshops could be gearing up at this very moment. But that...

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'I Am Penguin, Hear Me Squeak!' A Bird Speaks Out From Inside SeaWorld's 'Antarctica'

(13) Comments | Posted November 19, 2014 | 5:30 PM

I don't know if you are aware of this, but we penguins have our pride. In my case, I'm no run-of-the-mill bird. I'm a King penguin, in fact--bred for blizzards at the bottom of the world.

Call it retirement if you want, but one day, I found myself stationed...

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'We Have Whiskers, They Have Whiskers:' A Man's Best Friend Is His Cat

(0) Comments | Posted October 27, 2014 | 5:25 PM

Way down deep, we're all motivated by the same urges. Cats have the courage to live by them. -- Jim Davis

There they crouch. The words "cat" and "courage" lurking quietly in the same sentence. As a man, I understand how I'm supposed to react.

"Cats?" I should object. "They're...

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Cruising for Moose in Maine

(0) Comments | Posted October 13, 2014 | 5:16 PM

Neon moose. Stuffed, plush moose. Even a moose with wings: a handsome, hand-painted sculpture by the side of Route 15.

It was easy to tell, a few autumns back, that I was getting close to Moosehead Lake in Maine -- about 50 miles from the Quebec border. But while these...

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