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Briefs: Pat Conroy's Charleston stars in his new book

Pat Conroy has a new book out set in Charleston, S.C., and Southern Living magazine's August issue highlights some of the places featured in the novel, called South of Broad.

The magazine also interviewed the bestselling author about some of the spots he likes best in Charleston. They include the Citadel, which he attended; stores like Blue Bicycle Books and George C. Birlant & Co., which sells antiques; and restaurants like Hominy Grill, Jestine's Kitchen, Slightly North of Broad and Bowen's Island. Conroy's favorite spots for quiet reflection include the graveyards of St. Michael's and St. Philip's churches; and his favorite streets include Church, Meeting, Legare and Tradd.

Southern Living's South of Broad tour, visiting places mentioned in the book, includes the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, 120 Broad St.; Berlin's clothing store, 114 King St.; White Point Gardens; Rainbow Row, where a row of 18th century homes are painted in whimsical colors; Stoll's Alley, between East Bay and Church Street; the intersection of Meeting Street and Broad, where two courthouses, a church and Old City Hall are located; Burbage's, a grocery store at 157 Broad St.; Hampton Park, off Moultrie Street; Gibbes Museum of Art, 135 Meeting St.; and Big John's Tavern, 251 E Bay St.

Forbes takes over Mobil guides

Beginning in October, the Mobil Travel Guide brand will become the Forbes Travel Guide.

The change is the result of a new licensing agreement that transfers the brand as of Oct. 1 from ExxonMobil to Forbes Media.

Mobil's four-star and five-star awards for hotels, restaurants and spas will become Forbes awards when the annual ratings results are announced in November.

In November, city guides will be published under the Forbes brand for Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Hong Kong/Macau.

The company plans to relaunch a multimedia Web site in the first half of 2010.

Business travel is down, too

Expect more mobile and video conferencing this year because corporate travel is predicted to decline 15 percent, according to a new report from PhoCusWright, the travel industry research company.

In contrast, the total U.S. travel market is projected to decline only 11 percent in 2009, dipping below 2006 levels, PhoCusWright's "U.S. Corporate Travel Distribution" report said.

Historically, corporate travel has comprised about 40 percent of the total U.S. travel market, but that share is expected to shrink to 35 percent in 2010, the PhoCusWright report said.

Discover a world beyond the TV

Discovery Channel is launching a new brand of tours and trips called Discovery Adventures.The brand will offer trips to destinations including Costa Rica, Peru, the Amazon, the Galapagos Islands, India, Thailand, Cambodia, China, South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Alaska and the Southwest United States. Itineraries range from cruises and safaris to exploring ancient civilizations.

Tour themes will tie in with places featured on Discovery Channel programs like Man vs. Wild, Out of Egypt, Discovery Atlas, Dirty Jobs and Into the Unknown with Josh Bernstein. Participants will have opportunities to explore ruins and historic sites, as well as to do volunteer work in the destinations and experience local cultures.

Departures begin in December. The trips will run from three to 24 days. Prices start at $2,000 per person, plus airfare. See t he details at discoveryadventures.com.

Best river trips in America

They're not the country's biggest rivers, or the best-known. But National Geographic Adventure is highlighting six wild and scenic rivers ideal for rafting trips. The magazine's August-September issue lists the rivers as:

• The Rogue River in Oregon, with rapids ranging from Class II to Class V and outfitters offering trips from three to six days.

• The Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho, a "grail for experienced wilderness paddlers" that drops 7,000 feet from its headwaters through elk and bighorn sheep country.

• New Mexico's Rio Chama, a tributary of the Rio Grande with red-rock canyon walls and Class I and II rapids that make it ideal for young children and beginning paddlers.

• California's Upper Kern River, which has a sequence of five Class V rapids that only experienced riders can handle.

• The Chattooga River in Georgia and South Carolina, offering a steep, 75-foot drop over a quarter of a mile.

• The Wolf River in Wisconsin, which includes a dozen Class II and III rapids on a 28-mile segment on the Menominee Indian Reservation, and a plunge over Smokey Falls, a Class III cascade with an 8-foot drop.

Compiled from Times wires

Briefs: Pat Conroy's Charleston stars in his new book 08/15/09 [Last modified: Saturday, August 15, 2009 5:30am]

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