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Stepping into the past

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Torchlike smug pots blaze on the steps of the mausoleums at Mount Mora Cemetery, their bright orange flames lighting faces of travelers otherwise shrouded in darkness. Costumed re-enactors await on the steps near the fires, ready to share stories of the people buried in these final resting places made of limestone and marble.

In doing so, they help us realize how one person can affect the world — even if no one outside St. Joseph, Missouri, knows her name...

A city of nurturing

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The server at Chester’s Kitchen and Bar looks at my tired face with concern and asks sympathetically, “Did you have a lot of appointments today?” That question might seem odd anywhere else but here. This bustling,upscale restaurant draws crowds for its perfect rotisserie chicken, its locally sourced and inspired dishes and its playful bar and dessert menus. But in this location, the query makes perfect sense. Chester’s stands directly across the street from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota...

Longing for the bluebells

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They cover roadside meadows like a carpet from late March to mid-April, these wildflowers that are Texas’ official state flower. Bluebells are a welcome temporary break from the cold, wind and slush still clinging to life back home on the Plains. And the locals in and around Fredericksburg, Texas, know it. You can buy towels, sweatshirts, Christmas ornaments, note cards—well, just about anything, really—with bluebells on them. For me, it’s enough to drive with the windows rolled down and drink in the colors. And driving in the comfort of your own car is a big MS equalizer...

With feet firmly planted

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Everyone said it’d be easy. Cruising, that is. Ships are handicapped accessible, right? So in the fog following my primary progressive multiple sclerosis diagnosis, last winter, I called the travel agents at Expedia, eager to escape our snowy winter and icy sidewalks. I’d cruised-toured just seven months earlier, a 40th birthday trip-of-a-lifetime to Alaska, and though I was undiagnosed, my PPMS had already taken most of the feeling from my legs. I clung to my friend Lindsay as we hiked, visited a sled-dog camp and went whitewater rafting on the Mendenhall River. Now, six months later, my disease had progressed even more, and I was using a walker and scooter to get around. Would cruising really be as easy as I thought? ...

A journey by plates

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My husband tightens his back the moment we step inside Pig in a Fur Coat. The name of this Madison, Wisconsin, restaurant had raised some worry for him before we arrived. Who names a restaurant Pig in a Fur Coat? And what exactly does that mean? Now, seeing a long, high-top communal table in the middle of the dining room, his uneasiness turns to worry for two reasons...

Living on the ledge: Why MS can’t kill my travel bug

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I’m about a half-mile down the wooded Lost Lake Trail when I start to question what I’m doing here at Ledges State Park. Prudence, my shiny purple walker, rumbles over the gravel and through the woods on this accessible trail while my tired 8-year-old whines for a snack, our fishing pole flops in my walker basket, and my rambunctious black Lab tugs on her leash. Remind me again why I thought this was a good idea?...