Celeb travel: Go away with Maureen McCormick

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Best known for playing Marcia on " The Brady Bunch," Maureen McCormick has a new generation of fans, thanks to her spunky appearances on reality shows such as "Celebrity Fit Club" and "Gone Country." But reality TV has nothing on the actress's drama-filled early years.

In her page-turning memoir "Here's the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice" (William Morrow, $25.95), McCormick -- now 52 -- reveals that life wasn't as perfect as it seemed on "The Brady Bunch." She writes candidly about her discreet romances (with Barry Williams, who played her stepbrother Greg, Michael Jackson and Steve Martin), as well as her drug use and difficult bouts with depression.

Still, the actress refuses to feel sorry for herself.

"I've been having so much fun with everything -- the shows, my fans, working on my autobiography," says McCormick. "I've led an amazing life and have been blessed with a wonderful family."

Married for 23 years to Michael Cummings, McCormick says she and her family -- which includes daughter Natalie -- enjoy heading to Minnesota when they want to get away. There, she swims, knits and tries to avoid the bats.

BEST PLACE TO GET AWAY FROM IT ALL: My favorite place in the whole world is Lake Vermilion in Minnesota. My husband's family has a cabin there and we go there all the time. You drive part of the way and then you have to take a boat to get to the cabin 'cause you can't get there by car. It's really remote and I love it. It's the most peaceful place I've ever been in my life. I swim in the water all day and we go canoeing and just look at how unbelievably gorgeous it is there. I also like to knit when I'm there. One year my daughter and I made ornaments for our Christmas tree that we still bring out during the holidays.

BATTY FOR LAKE VERMILION: When you're out at night riding in the boat, you can see the bats flying overhead and hear them squeak. They've got a great radar system.

ENJOYS ROUGHING IT: I'm totally low maintenance! I grew up with three brothers, so I'm a tomboy at heart. Honestly, I like this kind of vacation so much better than going to a spa. What I really like is that this is one of the few areas in the United States that's still untouched. The last time we were there, I was sad to see that they were starting to build huge cabins on the lake for tourists. I'm really hoping the area doesn't get commercialized too fast.

EATING OUT: We usually do our own cooking there since it's so remote. But there's one place on the lake that's miles from our cabin that we'll go to for dinner on occasion. I actually have a very good sense of direction but one time we got lost. It was so scary and I freaked out a little bit. But in retrospect, it was an adventure!

FAVORITE SOUVENIRS: Wherever I travel I love to bring back an antique, whether it's a spoon or a shot glass or something with the name of the town on it. I love collecting things with history. That's one of my passions.

LEAVING TECHNOLOGY AT HOME: I'm one of those people who doesn't like working on vacation. I try to bring as little as possible. I'll bring a cell phone for emergencies but that's about it.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT MINNESOTA

POPULATION: 5,167,101 (2006 census).

FAMOUS MINNESOTANS: Bob Dylan, John Madden, Judy Garland, Winona Ryder and Sinclair Lewis.

WHERE THE HECK IS LAKE VERMILION: It's located about 220 miles north of Minneapolis.

FACTOID: Minnesota is known as the "Land of 10,000 Lakes." To read more about McCormick's favorite body of water -- Lake Vermilion -- check out www.lakevermilion.com. To learn more about Minnesota, go to www.exploreminnesota.com.

(Jae-Ha Kim is a New York Times bestselling author and travel writer. You can respond to this column at jae@jaehakim.com or visit her Website at www.jaehakim.com. She welcomes your questions and comments.)

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