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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

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.

Use of the Exclamation Point Has Exploded!

Once this skinny mark of excitement was mainly the provenance of excited teenage girls and inexperienced novelists. But now we're all peppering our sentences with exclamation marks. Is this a good thing?

Should You Always Take Off Your Shoes in Your Home?

Some people feel you track a lot of germs and dirt into your home if you keep your street shoes on inside, but studies have shown it's not that bad.

Hiking el Caminito del Rey, Once the World's Most Dangerous Trail

Our writer shares her experience of hiking Spain's el Caminito del Rey, once considered the world's most dangerous path. It was closed for 15 years after five people died on it and reopened in 2015 as a new, improved attraction.

Pickleball! It's the Fast-growing Sport With the Funny Name

Pickleball may be a funny name, but this paddle sport is attracting thousands of players across the U.S. and around the world.

The Missing States of the United States

There are 50 states in the U.S., but there have been many proposals over the years to add more.

Do You Have to Pull Over for a Funeral Procession?

Few rules on funeral procession are enshrined in law; most are just customs. But that doesn't mean you should break them.

9 Uses for Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is most likely in your first-aid kit. But it can be deployed for a whole variety of cleaning, gardening and beauty purposes you may have never ever thought of.

3 Cool Charities Looking for Knitters

Do you yarn to help others with your crafty skills? If so check out some great charities looking for some knitting assistance.

How the Gender Pay Gap Works

The gender pay gap is usually expressed something like this: Women make 80 cents for every dollar a man makes. Where did this figure come from and is it still true?

The 'Wild' Effect? Why Hiking Is Surging in Popularity in the U.S.

In the last few years, trail hiking has exploded in popularity in America. What sparked the increase, and is this a good thing?

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