Seiffen Is Just Straight Up Awesome

Gazing at the shop windows that line the streets of Seiffen, you can’t help but suspect that Santa’s elves secretly do their holiday shopping here in the Ore Mountains, the cradle of Germany’s centuries-old Christmas handicraft tradition. Although many Americans don’t realize it, dozens of the Christmas traditions they cherish were first instituted in the towns and villages of this mountainous region, located just a few hours’ drive from either Munich or Prague. Just gorgeous, is Seiffen.Just gorgeous, is Seiffen. For decades, this forested region on the border of what is now the Czech Republic was isolated behind the Iron Curtain. Although travel to Seiffen has increased since the fall of Communism, in…

Travelin’ Through Tennessee

I arrived in Tennessee on a foggy morning and so much the better: As our car crept along the back roads that lead to Blackberry Farm, a 44-room country inn in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, the woolly clouds erased the mental grime left behind by months of urban living. Innkeepers Kreis and Sandy Beall had proposed to pamper all of my senses, and I willingly accepted. The answer is yes to just about any question guests ask the Bealls, who’ve turned their rambling 1,100-acre estate into a comfortable, inviting inn where weary travelers can’t help but relax and rejuvenate.   The Smoky Mountains, y'all. The Smoky Mountains, y’all.   “Would you…