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A downtown comes alive with shops and speakeasies

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Back in the 1920s, Nebraska’s capital had a marketing slogan: “Lincoln — A City Worthy of a Noble Name.” Today, that motto seems to hold up perhaps more than ever, especially in the creative-meets-collegiate downtown in this tidy metropolis of 280,364 residents, which is home to the University of Nebraska and a growing immigrant population (now nearly 9 per cent of city dwellers). The increasingly buzzy downtown is luring visitors with recently opened shops and watering holes. And, be sure not to miss the 1932 Art Deco Capitol building, with its mosaics by muralist Hildreth Meiere and 14th-floor views of the Great Plains.

Sheldon Museum of Art

Kiechel Fine Art. This gallery has been housed for five years in a 1896 former music store with 23,000 square feet of space. Currently for sale: Banksy silk-screen prints on record sleeves, a signed and numbered silk screen work by Andy Warhol — a color serigraph of cantaloupes from 1979, and an etching and drypoint by Rembrandt: “The Angel Departing from the Family of Tobias.”
Kiechel Fine Art. This gallery has been housed for five years in a 1896 former music store with 23,000 square feet of space. Currently for sale: Banksy silk-screen prints on record sleeves, a signed and numbered silk screen work by Andy Warhol — a color serigraph of cantaloupes from 1979, and an etching and drypoint by Rembrandt: “The Angel Departing from the Family of Tobias.”  (Rana Young / The New York Times)

This Philip Johnson-designed jewel box of a building was built of travertine marble with gold leaf ceiling details in Italy, then meticulously reconstructed at the University of Nebraska in 1963. Among the museum’s more than 12,000 art holdings: Edward Hopper’s “Room in New York” and Georgia O’Keeffe’s effervescent “New York, Night” which captured her view of Lexington Avenue from her residence in the Shelton Hotel in 1929.

12th and R streets, University of Nebraska; sheldonartmuseum.org

The other room

Tucked in a brick-walled alley in downtown Lincoln’s Haymarket district, this tin-ceiling, speakeasy-inspired bar was a James Beard Award semifinalist in 2015. The bar, housed in an 1890 saddlery, uses more than 12 housemade bitters in its cocktails. Try the frothy Po Boy Punch (cognac, pecan bitters, egg white and nutmeg). Bring cash, and silence your phone before you enter; the bar’s strict texting-only policy cements the time-travel vibe.

824 P St.

Stella Collective

Nebraska-made wares are the focus of this three-year-old collective, with clothing, plant and housewares shops under one roof. Finds include Omaha-made Benson Soap Mill, which blends coffee shop castoffs (like previously steeped chai tea) into their body products, and Lincoln’s own Wax Buffalo soy candles. Vintage furniture spotted recently were a Milo Baughman recliner for $400 (U.S.) and a Saporiti chair for $350.

101 N 14th St. #7; stella-collective.com

Graduate Lincoln

Opened downtown in June 2017 with a tiki bar and arcade games in the lobby, this 16-story, 231-room hotel (part of a growing chain of college town hotels) is a paean to Nebraska, up to a corn iteration of Dorothy Draper’s Brazilliance wallpaper (the state ranks third in U.S. corn production). A Small Game Suite has a campus view and interiors that evoke a fantastical throwback basement, with wood panelling, a Smeg fridge and a Donkey Kong arcade machine. Rates start at $179.

141 N. Ninth St.; graduatehotels.com/lincoln

Kiechel Fine Art

This gallery has been housed for five years in a 1896 former music store with 23,000 square feet of space. Currently for sale: Banksy silkscreen prints on record sleeves; a signed and numbered silk screen work by Andy Warhol, a colour serigraph of cantaloupes from 1979; and an etching and drypoint by Rembrandt: “The Angel Departing from the Family of Tobias.” The 1641 print can be yours for $24,000.

1208 O St.; kiechelart.com

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Travel & Escape

Dealing with baggage on your trip

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(NC)Nothing is more embarrassing than having to unpack your baggage at the airport. It’s common to overpack because you want to make sure you have everything you need for your trip – the right shoes, a jacket in case it’s cold, a bathing suit in case there’s a pool. But you must be mindful of the baggage restrictions. So, how can you be smart with your baggage when travelling?

The first thing to do is talk to your TICO-certified travel agent about the weight restrictions and number of bags you are allowed to take. Some airlines charge per bag, while others may offer one bag for free depending on weight.

You’ll also need to know if there are security requirements for carry-on and checked baggage. For example, there may be prohibited items such as gels and liquids. These limitations vary from airline to airline and depends on if your flight is international or domestic, so you’ll need to check the policy of the airline you’re travelling with.

Naturally, you want to avoid incurring baggage fees, so talk to your travel agent, or contact the airline directly. You can also visit their website to review the luggage policy.

Here are a few more tips to help you manage your baggage when travelling:

  • Clearly label all baggage with your name, home address, and contact information
  • Place an identification tag inside the baggage in case the outside tag is torn off
  • Lock bags with CATSA/ACTSA travel locks
  • Put a colourful ribbon or other identifying marks on your bags so they are easily recognizable
  • Carry valuables in your hand luggage; jewelry, money, medications, important documents, etc.

You can’t carry everything with you, so be smart when you pack. Take only necessary items and focus on your trip.

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Travel & Escape

What travellers need to know if a destination wedding is cancelled

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(NC) It’s two weeks before you’re scheduled to attend a destination wedding and then you get the call. The wedding has been called off.

Sure, you’re upset for the couple, but now you’re faced with plane tickets and hotel reservations. So, what can you do?

There’s no reason why you can’t go and enjoy the trip, but bear in mind you may face a price increase, especially if this was part of a group booking. Group bookings often include a minimum number of travellers to get the discounted price, as well as terms and conditions regarding changes or cancellations.

You could ask other travellers to come along to keep the group discount. But name changes often count as cancellations based on the terms of the vacation package and premium charges may apply. If you booked with a TICO-registered travel agency, website or tour company, it’s better to contact them and ask about options before making any decisions.

While it’s devastating for the couple who planned the destination wedding, the fact is that the cancellation affects all the confirmed guests. So, it’s important to know your options so you can salvage an unfortunate situation. Always book with a TICO-registered travel agency, website or tour operator so you can circle back and find out what they can do for you.

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Travel & Escape

Be safe not sorry when booking travel online

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(NC) With so many travel websites available these days, many people are choosing to book their vacations from the comfort of their own home. Many travel websites are easy to navigate, and offer great vacation packages, so it seems to make sense.

But before you hit “submit”, it’s important to know what you’re getting into. Here are a few tips that can make you more aware when booking travel online:

  • Look for the TICO registration number or logo. All Ontario travel agencies and websites must be registered with TICO, the provincial travel regulator that provides consumers with protections if they don’t receive travel services. The registration number or logo is usually found in the About Us or Contact sections of the website.
  • Know where your credit card payment is going. Some websites are only search engines or booking agents for other providers.
  • Review the terms and conditions, particularly those that relate to cancellation, changes to bookings and refunds. Know what the travel agent or tour operator’s responsibilities are.
  • Keep a paper copy of your transactions, correspondence and confirmations.
  • Double check which currency the prices are quoted in. You could be paying in Euros instead of Canadian dollars.
  • Keep in mind that tax amounts can vary in travel advertisements. Ontario travel agencies and websites can display their taxes in four different ways:
    • A total price
    • A base price plus total taxes, fees and additional charges
    • A base price with a detailed breakdown
    • All taxes, fees and additional charges.
  • Research your destination to find out if there are any travel advisories, which can be found on the Government of Canada website.
  • Check the online travel agency’s website for a live-chat feature, email address or toll-free number to talk to a travel agent. Travel agents are a great resource to answer any questions you may have to ensure you are making an informed travel purchase.

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