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The Tucson Festival of Books attracts more than 100,000 people per year. Photo from Visit Tucson.

The Tucson Festival of Books attracts more than 100,000 people per year. Photo from Visit Tucson.

Thanks to the hundreds of people who stopped by my booth at the Tucson Festival of Books over the weekend!

It’s the nation’s third largest book fest, attracting more than 100,000 visitors per  year from around the U.S. and beyond.

The festival lineup features dozens of writers, publishers and other literary types appearing on various panel discussions, as well as hundreds of booths stocked with books for sale, informative events and demonstrations, and fun book- and science-related activities geared for kids, among other attractions.

My grandson, Conrad, age 2, was thrilled to meet the costumed character of Pete the Cat, his favorite literary figure. (Pete the Cat is known for his slogan, “It’s all good,” even in the face of adversities such as stepping in piles of strawberries or seeing duck friends… Continue reading

Pitcairn Island boasts some dramatic seascapes.

Pitcairn Island boasts some dramatic seascapes.

When my daughter, Lia, and her partner, Mike, traipsed into the wilds of North Carolina last August for an unobstructed view of the total eclipse of the sun, they also ventured into the rising realm of Astro Tourism — along with thousands of other Americans who journeyed near and far to find the ideal locales to witness that extraordinary celestial event.

Having just had cataract surgery, I wasn’t among them, alas, and here in Tucson the sky barely darkened during our partial eclipse, which was hundreds of miles south of the band of totality that swept across the U.S.

I was able to view the “super blue blood moon” eclipse on January 31, a lunar event that had not occurred in the United States since 1866. But that was visible right here in my front yard, and all it required was walking a few… Continue reading

The floating Arctic Bath Hotel and Spa. Photo by Johan Kauppi

The floating Arctic Bath Hotel and Spa. Photo by Johan Kauppi

Every once in a while some travel information crosses my desk (well, appears in my email) that I feel an immediate need to pass along. Such is the case with the floating Arctic Bath Hotel and Spa, which is due to open in the fall of 2018.

The six-room hotel and spa is said to sit in the ice during winter and float on the river during summer.

The location is in far northern Sweden in the area that’s renowned for having the best Northern Lights viewing in the world.  The river is the Lule, which freezes in winter and thaws in summer, allowing for the above-mentioned sitting and floating.

Off the Map Travel — a UK-based agency that specializes in Northern Lights viewing trips — handles bookings for the Arctic Bath Hotel, which was developed by… Continue reading

Paris night at the Arc de Triomphe. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Paris night at the Arc de Triomphe. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

In my last post, Where to Go in 2018 (and Beyond), I presented what I consider to be the essential destinations in the U.S. (primarily cities and national parks), the essential European countries, and the essential counties in the rest of the world.

By essential, I mean those which any dedicated traveler should seek out to establish their “travel literacy,” if you will. They are not necessarily my favorite countries and destinations, but those that offer some unique quality that makes them stand out among all others.

For example, I love both the Mediterranean island countries of Malta and Cyprus — and strongly recommend seeing them — but not (necessarily) before visiting France or Spain.

For the purposes of this post, I’m going to skip over U.S. cities: New York, San Francisco and the rest, on the assumption… Continue reading

Yellowstone National Park is on my list of essential U.S. destinations. Photo from yellowstonepark.com

Yellowstone National Park is on my list of essential U.S. destinations. Photo from yellowstonepark.com

Just about every travel publication, digital or print, now seems to start the New Year with a top ten list of “where to go this year,” counting down to the most irresistible spot on the planet.

One year, the hot ticket may be to Croatia, the next year to Colombia, the next year to Canada. (For my own facetious take on where Americans would be going in 2017 — with nearly half the country fleeing to Canada for extended vacations, the other near-half checking out the newly discovered charms of Russia, and the remaining in-betweeners headed to Cuba — check out my post from December 29, 2016. Seems so long ago…)

My own (rather cynical) theory about top ten lists of this nature is that they mostly reflect where editors of said publications want to… Continue reading

Times Square on New Years' Eve -- I'll be watching at home

Times Square on New Years’ Eve — I’ll be watching at home

The one time I don’t like to travel during the year is between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Theoretically, it’s the week when I clean up my office, get my affairs in order, and enjoy more time with family and friends. Oh yes, and watch some football, especially my beloved Michigan Wolverines, who often play in a bowl game on the morning of January 1 so I have to be abstemious the night before.  Go Blue!

In practice, it doesn’t always work out that way, but I still prefer spending New Year’s Eve at home with my wife, Netflix, and clam dip, unless we’re invited to a small party with nearby friends or family. I lived in New York for 20 years and never made it to Times Square to see the ball drop — not on… Continue reading

My book 100 Things to Do in Tucson Before You Die

My book 100 Things to Do in Tucson Before You Die

I’m happy to say that I’ve just received a new supply of copies of my book 100 Things to Do in Tucson Before You Die from my publisher.

To order directly from me, you can send payment of $19.35 (which includes sales tax and postage) to paypal.me/clarknorton or send a check, if you prefer to:

Clark Norton

1026 E. Miles St.

Tucson, AZ 85719

Be sure to send me an email at clark@clarknorton.com with your own name and shipping address.

And thanks to everyone for helping to make 100 Things to Do in Tucson Before You Die such a rousing success!

Best wishes,

Clark

 

 

 

 

My book 100 Things to Do in Tucson Before You Die

My book 100 Things to Do in Tucson Before You Die

Due to popular demand and a shortage of books, my book 100 Things to Do in Tucson Before You Die has currently sold out at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble Online, and all local Tucson bookstores (you may find a copy or two here and there).

If you choose, you can place an order from Amazon, B&N, or your favorite bookstore. There may be delays.

Or, you can order directly from me at paypal.me/clarknorton; price of $19.35 includes sales tax and shipping. Be sure to send me an email at clark@clarknorton.com with your name and shipping address. We also accept checks. Thanks!

UPDATE: The reprint is in! Books are now available and I can mail them out as soon as I receive your payment. 

Thanks, everyone, for helping to make 100 Things to Do in Tucson Before… Continue reading

Victoria Falls at dawn -- the "Smoke That Thunders."Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Victoria Falls at dawn — the “Smoke That Thunders.”Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

If you’ve been following the news out of Zimbabwe of late, you know that the country’s long-time president, Robert Mugabe, may finally be nearing the end of his repressive regime.

Mugabe, now age 93, has been placed under mostly house arrest by the country’s military, who have denied that they are engaged in an actual coup — a good public relations move, but probably not very reflective of reality.

The idea seems to be to head off  Mugabe’s much younger wife, Grace, from succeeding her husband as head of state. Mugabe’s own political party, ZANU-PF, has withdrawn its support for him, and he now finds himself without any real authority.

Under Mugabe, who came to power in 1980 after leading the resistance to Ian Smith’s white nationalist regime in what was previously Rhodesia, much of Zimbabwe had… Continue reading

Today’s guest infographic comes from PortableAdvisor.com, a website devoted to RV travel and the “portable lifestyle.”  It’s run by an Irish-American named Rick Rose and his wife Sandy, who have lived life on the road for eight months of each year since 2012.

I can vouch for some of these incredibly scenic highways from personal experience; others remain to be explored, but it’s a terrific list to keep in mind for your next European vacation(s).

The infographic is packed with useful info such as mileage, driving difficulty, seasonal closures, sights en route, and various practical tips.

Here’s the intro and infographic courtesy of PortableAdvisor:

With the rise of budget airlines in Europe, the popularity of driving around the continent has waned. As a result, some of the continent’s most breathtaking locations go unseen as visitors  simply fly from one capital city to the next without taking in… Continue reading

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According to government and private surveys:

  • Leading-edge baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1955) and seniors account for four out of every five dollars spent on luxury travel today.
  • Roughly half the consumer spending money in the U.S.--more than $2 trillion--is in the hands of leading-edge baby boomers and seniors.
  • Baby boomers (born 1946-1964) travel more than any other age group.
  • When asked what they would most like to spend their money on, baby boomers answered “travel” more than any other category, including improving their health or finances.

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