AWARDS


I am honored to have won many travel awards and other writing accolades over the years. But I am most proud of my four Lowell Thomas Awards, which are considered the Pulitzers of travel writing. My fellow Lowell Thomas awardees include luminaries such as Rick Steves, author and TV/radio travel show host. And also Andrew McCarthy, a freehand writer, actor and director, and Beth J. Harpaz, travel editor of The Associated Press.

Travel Awards

 

2019

White tile for 2019 Lowell Thomas Travel AwardsSilver Lowell Thomas Award
Special Packages/Projects
“Feeling Superior”
Judges’ comments: “The expertise and understanding of the region makes this journey believable. The honest and openness in storytelling connects the humanity to the sense of place. The presentation is a full court press of incredible print and online design. The photography is excellent and well-informed. The project shows a great collaboration between the writer and the photographer. The video journal updates were full of personality. The stories relay the tales of encountering many hikers and the different ways people interact with hiking. Readers learn about the trail, a little more about the depth of pride in a place and the difficulty and joy a journey like this provides.”

 

 

 

 

 

2018

Gold Lowell Thomas Award, Best Short Travel Article
“Testing your lungs in Colorado’s fresh air”

Judges’ comments: “Their weariness is so palpable that my own limbs begin to tremble,” Melanie Radzicki McManus writes. She then records the other hiker’s comments to a companion. “‘The next time we do this, we’ll be smarter about it … but this is the last time we’re doing it.’” With a vivid, gripping style, McManus puts the reader there with her. Experiencing the steepness of the 2,000-foot climb, the burning with each breath and the strain with each step. There’s a sense of connection visitors make with Manitou Incline’s past and its present, putting the entire experience into context immediately.

 

 

SATW CENTRAL STATES AWARDS

2nd Place: Best Travel Article Featuring Central States Meeting Sites
“No cars allowed: Michigan’s Mackinac is an island of bicycles”
Judges’ comments: Of the varied looks at Mackinac Island, this bicycle tour through the whimsical island village made it sound most appealing. It was hard to not want to be on a bike cruising through the island.

2nd Place: Best Travel How-To/Consumer Reporting Article
“No cars allowed: Michigan’s Mackinac is an island of bicycles”

Judges’ comments: A whimsical trip to Mackinac Island on bike sounds like the kind of fun one might only have in Key West otherwise. Great idea for a story and very well-written and informative.

3rd Place: Best Travel How-To/Consumer Reporting Article
“How New Zealand Became the Home of Extreme Sports”

Judges’ comments: Adventure junkies are always looking for new things and this article offers plenty of that. Informative and descriptive.

3rd Place: Best Magazine Travel Article – International Destinations
“Taking on a Tiger”

Judges’ comments: The writer really brings readers along on the trip through China in a way that is personal and also revealing.

 

2017

SATW CENTRAL STATES AWARDS

Place: Best Newspaper Article – U.S./Canada
“Isle Royale promises moose, wolves and wilderness”

Judges’ comments: Excellent storytelling that gave a strong sense of place. Well-described scenes that transport the reader into the location. A strong narrative that brought reader to moments of tension on trip followed by surprise.

3rd Place: Best Newspaper Article – U.S./Canada
“Sledding at Great Sand Dunes National Park”

 

2016

Gold Lowell Thomas Award, Best Short Travel Article
“Island Disputes”

Judges’ comments: This story does a fantastic job weaving information into a light, fun, readable narrative. Readers learn about disputed territories and the politics that still haunt some, such as this tiny rocky island off the coast of Maine that is claimed by both Canada and the U.S. Melanie Radzicki McManus makes her audience want to go on this same adventure by boat to see puffins on the island, even though her outing ultimately ended in failure.

 

 

SATW CENTRAL STATES AWARDS

Place: Best Newspaper Article
“D.C. shines in the off-season”

3rd Place: Best Magazine Article
“Island Disputes”

 

2015

Lowell Thomas Travel Writer of the Year Grand Award, Honorable Mention
This award is given based on a portfolio of your work.

Judges’ comments: “Melanie Radzicki McManus surprises readers with stories about places they’ve never heard of. Who knew there’s a museum memorializing a former Japanese internment camp in McGehee, Arkansas? More impressive, though, is how she inspires readers with her outlandish physical feats. At age 52, becoming only the fourth woman to “thru-hike” the 1,100-mile Ice Age Trail across Wisconsin, she set a fast-packing record by running it in 36 days. (35 if you subtract the day she had to log 0 miles to treat a foot infection.) Her reporting entertains but almost makes us feel guilty for taking the time to sit down and read it.”

 

2013

SATW CENTRAL STATES TRAVEL AWARDS

1st Place: Best Newspaper Article – International Destinations
“New Zealand’s walk on the wild side”

3rd Place: Best Travel App
“Vía de la Plata”

3rd Place: Best Travel How-To/Consumer Reporting Article
“A Guide to Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail”

Honorable Mention: Best Travel Article in a Digital Medium
“Hiking Spain’s Camino to Santiago de Compostela”

Honorable Mention: Best Travel How-To/Consumer Reporting Article
“10 Great Camping Spots for Star-Gazing”

 

2012

SATW CENTRAL STATES TRAVEL AWARDS

1st Place: Best Travel How-To/Consumer Reporting Article
“10 Ways to Keep Your Kids from Driving You Crazy on a Road Trip”

2nd Place: Best Travel App
“Wisconsin Dells”

3rd Place: Best Travel App
“Vía de la Plata”

Honorable Mention: Best Travel How-To/Consumer Reporting Article
“How to Avoid Travel Fees”

 

2011

Gold Lowell Thomas Award, Best Environmental Tourism Award
“On the backs of giants”

Judges’ comments: Melanie Radzicki McManus does an excellent job of telling the big story by getting the reader to care about the small story. “She had me at the first wave of her trunk” is the introduction to Khuan, a 19-year-old pregnant elephant at Patara Elephant Farm in Thailand. McManus tells about the care of elephants at the compound by a richly detailed account of caring for Khuan for a day.

 

 

 

 

2010

1st Place: Best Newspaper Article on U.S./Canada, SATW Central States Award

2nd Place: Best Background, Analytical or Interpretive Story, Milwaukee Press Club Awards for Excellence in Journalism,
“Invasive Species”

 

2009

SATW CENTRAL STATES TRAVEL AWARD

2nd Place: Best Newspaper Article on U.S./Canada
“Where time stands still”

SATW = Society of American Travel Writers

 

 

WRITING


Read about all of the places I've traveled (and hiked!), from the U.S., Spain and Italy to Israel, China, New Zealand and beyond.

SPEAKING


Need an engaging, enthusiastic speaker? I'm your person for talks about hiking, women in the outdoors, solo travel and more.

PHOTOGRAPHY


Check out my photos from popular and remote locales. They're for sale, too.

TRAIL JOURNALS


Planning a hike on trails I've conquered? Read my daily diaries to help you prepare.

©2018 Melanie McManus – All Rights Reserved

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