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CONCERTS ACROSS U.S. TO CELEBRATE EARTH DAY

Miami's Bicentennial Park is one of eight places across the country that will hold simultaneous Earth Day celebrations April 20. The flagship event will be on the National Mall in Washington.

Organizers also plan to stage free outdoor concerts in New York, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Producers of the Green Apple Festival, which began three years ago in New York, and organizers of the first Earth Day in 1970 are staging the events in landmark parks, including Central Park in New York and Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Details at www.greenapplemusicfestival.com.

Dinner straight from the farm

Country cooking with ingredients fresh from the farm, and trendy, elegant menus are not mutually exclusive.

Conde Nast Traveler magazine is recommending top "farm tables" in its February issue. Mentioned in the article is the Outstanding in the Field (www.outstandinginthefield.com) organization, which sets up movable feasts at outdoor tables, often right in the fields. An event is scheduled in Miami in October.

Farm tables mentioned by the magazine include those found at Restaurant at Patowmack Farm, Lovettsville, Va.; occasional garden soirees at Paradise Farms, Homestead; monthly Sunday dinners at Celebrity Dairy, Siler City, N.C.; and the Gathering Together Farm in Philomath, Ore., where diners get a field tour in a pickup truck before eating.

The simplicity of fresh ingredients and dining al fresco does not come cheap. Attending a dinner party sponsored by Outstanding in the Field can run $300 to $400 for two.

The funny thing about travel

High airline tickets are nothing to laugh about. Put your giggles to good use by reading More Sand in My Bra: Funny Women Write from the Road, Again (Travelers' Tales; $14.95).

This sequel features 29 essays from misadventures around the world. Ellen DeGeneres fills her travel diary covering a 35-city North American comedy tour with on-the-road tidbits that lead to her vow not to tour again until she's able to beam herself from stage to stage.

These essays are snapshots of challenging but rollicking moments on the go, from shoe-shopping in San Francisco to a trans-Pacific honeymoon aboard a 35-foot sailboat with a big toilet problem. There are revelatory stops at a nude hot springs in Oregon, a Turkish bath in Amman, a body-wax salon in Saigon, a yoga festival in India, a love hotel in Guam and more, all rendered from a woman's perspective, no holds barred (often with language to match).

Pedaling around Portugal

Easy Rider's "Praias & Palaces" bicycle tour concentrates on the expansive coastline and royal residences to the south and west of Lisbon, Portugal, an area where Greek, Roman and Moorish civilizations once thrived. The route takes in Roman ruins, seaside villages, storybook chateaus and a granite monastery exactingly lined in cork.

Easy-to-moderate daily rides wheel through oak forests, cork farms, olive groves and fields of wildflowers.

An optional excursion takes ambitious pedalers to the cliffs of Cabo da Rocha, the westernmost point of mainland Europe.

Slated for April 27-May 2, May 26-31, Aug. 31-Sept. 5 and Sept. 28-Oct. 3, Praias & Palaces is priced at $2,750, including accommodations, most meals, leadership, admissions, van support and bicycle rental. Flights between home and Lisbon are additional. The itinerary is the least demanding of Easy Rider's bike tours in Portugal.

For more information, call toll-free 1-800-488-8332 or go to www.easyridertours.com.

Seeing nature on snowshoes

Rising a thousand feet above Manitoba's vast prairies, Riding Mountain National Park is home to diverse wildlife, unusual landscapes and clear night skies. Elkhorn Resort, located just inside the park, takes advantage of its setting to offer a "Riding Mountain Infusion" package with two nights' lodging, a one-day pass to its mineral pool and choice of either a day or night excursion in the park.

The day choice is "Ice Escapades in the Weeping Forest," a snowshoe foray across a frozen pond to see a hillside that mysteriously oozes water. The evening expedition is the "Night Lantern Snowshoe and Wolf Howl" under starry skies and sometimes northern lights.

The package is priced at $531 for two, plus tax, valid until March 31. Elkhorn Resort is near Dauphin, about 150 miles from Winnipeg. To learn more, call toll-free 1-866-355-4676 or go to www.elkhornresort.mb.ca.

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