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Melanie McManus

Melanie has worked as a radio station news reporter, as a press secretary in the Wisconsin State Legislature and as editor of two local publications. Since 1994, she has worked as a freelance writer and editor, specializing in travel and fitness.

She has won numerous awards for her writing, most notably prestigious Lowell Thomas Gold and Grand Awards for her travel journalism. Her first book, "Thousand-Miler" (Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2017), is a memoir about her record-setting thru-hike of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

Recent Contributions

How to Buy the Best Trundle Bed

Trundle beds are great for kid sleepovers and temporary adult guests. They're also good space savers, but you need to keep a few things in mind before selecting one.

How Presidential Debates Work

This American institution began with Abraham Lincoln following Stephen Douglas on the campaign trail. Today, the presidential debate is one of the most anticipated markers of candidates' campaigns.

The Phrase 'Riding Shotgun' Came Way After the West Was Won

The phrase (which means to ride in the front passenger seat of the car) seems like it might have come about during the Wild West. But it actually took a detour through Hollywood.

Spanking Has Declined Sharply in the U.S. in Last 25 Years, Study Finds

Parents in the U.S. are spanking their kids much less often than they did in the past. A study looked at the decline between 1993 and 2017.

Could Your Computer Help You Be More Polite?

A new program from researchers at Carnegie Mellon can help your computer send more polite emails and messages. And they used a treasure trove of emails from the Enron lawsuit to do it.

10 Awesome Uses for Duct Tape

Whether it's getting rid of a wart, protecting your boots from the elements or crafting roses, duct tape is up to the challenge. Duct tape even played a supporting role on the Apollo 13 lunar mission.

12 Amazing Uses for WD-40

There are thousands of reported uses for WD-40, an aerosol lubricant that's as handy as duct tape. We look at 12 of the more creative ones we've found for this miracle product.

Does Anne Boleyn Deserve Her Bad Reputation?

Anne Boleyn is too often known only for her brief tumultuous marriage to King Henry VIII and her subsequent beheading. But there was a lot more to her life than that.

Get to Know Denmark's Gorgeous Faroe Islands in 11 Stunning Facts

People around the globe are just beginning to discover the beautiful Faroe Islands. With little crime, lovely scenery and lots of puffins, here are 11 things to know about this unique destination.

5 Things Everyone Gets Wrong About Betta Fish

Colorful, flashy betta fish are common as pets. But many owners are unaware of how to properly care for them.

The Slithering Serpent and 6 Other Secrets of Chichén Itzá

The archaeological site Chichén Itzá is one of Mexico's most popular tourist draws. Here are some things you may not know about this amazing Mayan wonder.

Who Should Buy a Medicare Supplement Plan?

Buying a Medicare Supplement plan (aka Medigap) can be a smart option for many people, but is it better than a Medicare Advantage plan?

10 Tips for Navigating the World of Medicare Supplements

Medicare supplement plans, or Medigap, covers costs that Medicare doesn't. But there are a lot of things to beware off before you buy one.

What People Get Wrong About Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott

Parks didn't refuse to move from her bus seat because her feet were tired. "The only tired I was, was tired of giving in," she said. What else do we get wrong?

Scientists Say: Hey, Hikers, Stop Stacking Rocks!

It may seem cool to stack rocks for fun or artistic purposes but moving rocks may inadvertently threaten small mammals and insects and contribute to soil erosion.

What's the Difference Between an Avenue, a Road and a Boulevard?

The name bestowed on a road depends on its size and function. And it's not just up to your neighborhood's developer either.

Lapland Is the Land of Eight Seasons

Four measly seasons may not be enough. The Sámi people of Lapland say their region's eight seasons better express their lifestyle and the cycles of their land. So, what are these seasons?

What's the Difference Between Baking Soda and Baking Powder?

Baking soda and baking powder are both leavening agents, but they work differently in batters and doughs. So, in a pinch, can you substitute one for the other?

The Cornish Game Hen Is Neither Cornish Nor a Hen

They look very festive at the holiday table but what are these pint-sized pieces of poultry, really?

The Snowy Dunes of White Sands National Monument Witnessed Atomic History

These brilliant gypsum dunes are the largest in the world and near the site of the first atomic bomb detonation in 1945. They're also renowned for their Instagram-ready landscapes. Our writer went for a visit.

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