• The shortened workweek for Utah state employees is attracting a lot of attention around the country. And now tourism is getting in on the act. Spirit Dance Hotels is offering Utah residents a deal at three of its upscale properties: Teton Lodge & Spa in Victor, Idaho; Spring Creek Ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyo.; and The Pollard Hotel, in Red Lodge, Mont.
From now through the end of November, any Utahns who book two nights will get a third night at 50 percent off. You don't have to be a government employee enjoying your new three-day weekend, but you do have to present a valid Utah driver's license or state-issued discount to get the deal.
• Famed author Ernest Hemingway hunted and wrote on and off in Sun Valley/Ketchum, Idaho, for 22 years and is laid to rest in the Ketchum Cemetery. His legacy is honored each year at the annual Sun Valley Ernest Hemingway Festival, scheduled for Sept. 25-28.
A highlight this year will be "Hemingway in Cuba," a documentary presented by Hilary Hemingway, niece of the author. The festival will also include lectures and panel discussions by national scholars, a tour of Hemingway sites, book readings, museum displays and an "Evening in Cuba," filled with music and salsa dancing.
For more information, visit www.ernesthemingwayfestival.org.
• Do all those Italian cooking shows on the Food Network have you yearning to cook like the professionals? Here's a way to make that happen. Cook In Italy is offering gourmet vacations in both Tuscany and Turin (Torino). The program offers cooking classes for a single day or for up to six days and offers a chance to get acquainted with genuine Italian food traditions and work with qualified chefs. Classes last for half a day, so there's plenty of time for sightseeing in the afternoon.
For more information, visit www.cookinitaly.org.
• Arts, mountain scenery and crowd-pleasing food combine at the Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival, Sept. 4-21. Recognized as one of the premier art venues in the Rocky Mountain West, the fall festival boasts more than 50 events, including gallery walks, workshops and artist receptions.
Always popular is the "Taste of the Tetons," which offers participants a chance to stroll and sample food and dessert in the heart of historic downtown Jackson. The 13th annual QuickDraw Art Sale and Auction gives visitors a chance to see artists at work and bid on finished products.
A complete schedule of events may be found at www.jacksonholechamber.com.
• In 1828, 19-year-old Abraham Lincoln made a journey by flatboat down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. In honor of Lincoln's upcoming 200th birthday, that journey will be re-created, starting Sept. 9 in Rockport, Ind., and ending Oct. 5 in New Orleans.
Although this time around, the flatboat will be powered by motor instead of the flow of the river, the trip will hold to the spirit and pay tribute to the impact of that formative trip for Lincoln. For example, on that journey, Lincoln witnessed his first slave auction, an event that shaped his anti-slavery views.
Celebrations and remembrances will be held in 20 or so cities along the rivers. For more information, visit www.lincolnsjourney.org.