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TRAVEL Q&A

Info on Indian Reservations, Weather Conditions in the Mediterranean

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By K.C. Summers
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, February 22, 2009

Q. This summer, my wife and I will drive from Rockville to Niagara Falls with our grandchildren, ages 10 and 8. The children would like to visit an Indian reservation on our trip. A Web search for reservations that encourage visitors found nothing. Can you help?

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Jack Hirsch, Rockville

A. There are more than 300 Indian reservations in the United States, tribal lands with their own laws and government. But most are not set up for visitors, or at least not in the sense you mean. For example, the Oneida Indian Nation in central New York is popular mainly for its glitzy Turning Stone Resort and Casino.

But the Oneidas, who were allies of the colonists during the Revolutionary War, do have a cultural center on their grounds where your grandchildren could learn a bit about the tribe's history. The Shako:wi Cultural Center features exhibits of basketry, beadwork, dolls, wampum and more, and the kids can create their own corn husk dolls. The center is free and open daily except for holidays. Details: 315-829-8801, http://www.oneidaindiannation.com.

For a livelier look at Native American culture, you could schedule your trip around a powwow, a lively social gathering with traditional dancing, music and attire. The Buffalo Nation Powwow, for example, is set for June 19-21 in Farmington, Pa. -- not exactly on your route but possibly worth a detour. You can find info on other powwows countrywide at http://www.500nations.com.

If your grandchildren have their hearts set on a traditional reservation visit, consider a trip to Cherokee, N.C., near the entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway. The sovereign Cherokee nation of 100 square miles offers an outdoor theater, a museum, an arts and crafts cooperative and a working village. Details: 800-438-1601, http://www.cherokee-nc.com.

Closer to home, Maryland and Virginia have a few small-scale Native American museums and cultural centers. The Pamunkey and Mattaponi tribes both operate museums less than an hour from Richmond (http://www.vatc.org).http://In Maryland, the Piscataways have a cultural center in Waldorf (http://www.piscatawayindians.org), and there are two outdoor museums in St. Leonard (http://www.jefpat.org) and St. Mary's City (http://www.stmaryscity.org).

We are taking an 18-day repositioning cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Rome in mid-March. While the first few days at sea might be relatively warm, we are wondering what to pack/wear as the ship sails north toward Spain. And once in the Mediterranean, will it again be warmer?

C.E. Preston, Bethesda

Thanks to climate change, it's hard to predict the temperature anywhere, at any time of year. So when packing for a cruise -- indeed, when traveling by any conveyance to any destination -- think layers. That way you can take jackets and sweaters off or put them on as needed.

That said, it's safe to say that it will be chilly at sea during your trip. Else Daniels, a certified cruise counselor with the Washington travel agency Vacations at Sea, said that in March the temperature on deck will probably be in the 40s and 50s, "certainly cool enough to need a jacket, perhaps over a sweater." Even so, she pointed out, some ships have covered pools. When you get to the Mediterranean, the temperatures should be in the 50s and 60s. And in Rome, the weather should be relatively mild, with sunny days and cool nights. (You'll be glad you took that jacket along.) But be prepared for a heat wave, a cold snap or a rainy spell.

Clarification

For those considering a rail trip in Canada's Rocky Mountains (Travel Q&A, Feb. 15), note that the national railroad, VIA Rail, travels only one of the commercial sightseeing trains' routes, not three, as we reported. The scenic route runs from Vancouver to Jasper, then continues on to Edmonton and, from there, to Toronto.

Your Turn

Reader Robin Hoehn has suggestions for the airline passenger with the long layover at LAX (Travel Q&A, Feb. 8). A short-term car rental, she says, is more cost-effective than a cab and offers greater flexibility. She also recommends visiting the Santa Monica Pier, with an old-fashioned carousel and amusement park as well as several restaurants.

Those looking for lighthouse B&Bs should consider the Selkirk Lighthouse on Lake Ontario, just outside Pulaski, N.Y., says Robert Steingraber of Syracuse. "It is a very old one, having been built in 1838," he says, and is one of only a handful in the country with the old lantern light.

And June Jeffries of Silver Spring recommends the lighthouses of Michigan, with miles of coastline (http://www.michigan.org/Things-to-Do/Attractions/Lighthouses/Default.aspx).

Send queries by e-mail (travelqa@washpost.com) or U.S. mail (Travel Q&A, Washington Post Travel Section, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071). Please include your name and town.


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