da Vinci exhibit

WASHINGTON - Leonardo da Vinci's early notes and sketches of human flight some 400 years before the airplane's invention are making a rare visit to the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington.

The museum will display da Vinci's "Codex on the Flight of Birds" through Oct. 22.

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The notebook dates to between 1505 and 1506 when the famous Renaissance artist also painted his "Mona Lisa" masterpiece.

Da Vinci studied birds to describe how humans could one day fly. The historic document is being shown near Orville and Wilbur Wright's 1903 Flyer, the world's first successful powered aircraft. Interactive stations allow visitors to flip through the codex pages.

The Biblioteca Reale in Turin, Italy, is loaning the document to the Smithsonian. It's been shown in the U.S. once before.

Dome Car

ALBANY, N.Y. - Amtrak is bringing its one-and-only "Dome Car" to upstate New York for the fall leaf-peeping season.

The car features an upper level with windows on all sides and overhead to give passengers good views of the fall colors on the route from Albany to Montreal through Oct. 29.

The refurbished vintage car dates to 1955 and has a dome section running the full length of the car.

The dome car will operate northbound from Albany to Montreal on Thursdays, Saturdays and Mondays. It returns south from Montreal on Fridays, Sundays and Tuesdays.

All passengers traveling on the Albany-Montreal segment of the route are welcome to enter the dome car to enjoy the view. Seats in the dome car are not reserved and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Cape tours

HARKERS ISLAND, N.C. - Visitors to the Cape Lookout National Seashore now have additional help touring the area.

Officials say the seashore is now offering self-guided cellphone tours hosted by OnCell Systems.

Each set of stops offers the chance to take a guided tour with a park ranger at the visitor's pace and before or after the open hours of the park visitor centers, museums, and historic site exhibits.

Smartphones can access additional photos and additional information through the mobile tour website. Wooden posts mark the site of tour stops. Each marker includes the stop number, tour phone number and a smartphone QR code for that stop.

The tour starts alongside the boardwalk at the Light Station Visitor Center and includes the Cape Lookout Lighthouse.

Leaf peeping

ALBANY, N.Y. - Leaf peeping season is starting in parts of New York state.

State tourism officials say trees in parts of the Adirondacks have begun to turn, with as much as 15 percent foliage-color change by this weekend. For instance, officials expect about 15 percent color change in elevations above 2,000 feet in Warren County, including the Upper Hudson River Gorge, Blue Mountain, North Creek and Newcomb.

There also will be color showing in parts of the Catskills region, such as Saugerties.

The rest of the state is expected to see 10 percent or less color change.

Bird observation pier

CHARLOTTE AMALIE, U.S. Virgin Islands - The U.S. Virgin Islands is building a new observation pier at a wildlife sanctuary in St. John for bird lovers.

Gov. John de Jongh Jr. said the local Audubon Society will help build the pier at the Frank Bay Marine Reserve and Wildlife Sanctuary. The site draws thousands of tourists a year.

For the first time, the pier will also give visitors a full view of the area's pond near Cruz Bay.

Vermont campgrounds

ROCHESTER, Vt. - The U.S. Forest Service says three popular Vermont campgrounds in the Rochester and Middlebury area will stay open through Columbus Day weekend this year.

The Chittenden Brook, Moosalamoo, and Silver Lake campgrounds will close for the season on Oct. 15.

Officials say extending the season will give the public an opportunity to camp during the fall foliage season and attract visitors the area.

Chris Mattrick, district ranger on the Rochester and Middlebury Ranger District, says autumn is one of the most beautiful times of year on the Green Mountain National Forest.

All three are primitive campgrounds with no electric hookup or sewer provided. Water is available from hand pumps at the Moosalamoo Campground.

Silver Lake is a hike-in campground.


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