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
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.
I’m not very good at remembering all the special commemorative days and sometimes obscure holidays that I should.
For example, I forgot National Grandparents Day this year, even though I had written about it last year — and, even worse, it was my first Grandparents Day as an actual grandparent. It was only when a relative wished me a Happy Grandparents Day that the light went on in my head.
The United Nations first declared World Tourism Day in 1980 to highlight the social, economic, cultural and political benefits of tourism, which now accounts for about 10 percent of the global economy — the largest single industry in the world.
Airlines, cruise lines, rail lines, bus lines, rental car agencies…hotels, motels, B&Bs, resorts, inns…restaurants, cafes, street vendors…tour companies, guides, travel agents, guidebook… Continue reading
When I moved to Tucson in late 2015, one of the first people I looked up was Mitch Stevens, who runs a tour company called Southwest Discoveries, which specializes in hiking and walking tours in some of Arizona’s most spectacular scenic areas.
While Southwest Discoveries is relatively new, Mitch is an old hand at leading hikes and tours, with an extensive background at the helm of Sierra Club outings. He’s particularly interested in drawing baby boomers to his tours, which is how we originally connected.
Mitch has lived in Arizona for decades and is a walking encyclopedia in the geology, archaeology, history, and culture of the Southwest.
Arizona’s searing summer heat levels off in Autumn, with October and November ushering in perfect hiking weather that lasts throughout the winter and into spring.
Red Rock Country
Mitch has… Continue reading
“The Savvy Path to Breathtaking Travel, Without the Hassle”
“Less Planning, More Experiencing”
“A Journey of a Thousand Smiles Begins With a Single Click”
These are some of the taglines that express the essence of the new travel website, StrideTravel.com, where I worked for more than a year as Content Director. (My job is now in the capable hands of Content Coordinator Samantha Scott, who, together with co-founders Gavin Delany and Jared Alster, comprise a formidable team.)
In practical terms, Stride aspires to be — and in many ways already is — the best place on the Web to survey the wealth of multi-day, pre-planned trips that are now available from hundreds of travel suppliers around the world.
“Pre-planned trips” may encompass guided group or private tours as well as independent journeys… Continue reading
In the spirit of the holiday season — and getting into shape after indulging in all those holiday parties — I’m running a guest post from my fellow Tucson, Arizona, resident Mitch Stevens, founder of Southwest Discoveries.
Mitch or one of his trained guides at Southwest Discoveries will take you on a personalized hiking tour in the Tucson region or around Arizona, including the Grand Canyon and Sonoran Desert. His market is primarily baby boomers and multi-generational hiking groups, which is how Mitch and I originally connected.
Appropriately, Mitch writes about the benefits of going hiking (which I can now do in the winter, having recently relocated from upstate New York to sunny Tucson — following in the footsteps, as it were, of countless other baby boomers heading south and west).
So I’ll hand… Continue reading
Third in a Series
I’m sure that many residents of Michigan have heard of Beaver Island, even if they haven’t actually visited there. But when I saw it on the itinerary for my recent “Magical Lake Michigan Cruise” aboard the Grande Mariner from Blount Small Ship Adventures, it had me scurrying to my atlas.
It turns out that Beaver Island is the largest island in Lake Michigan: about 13 miles long and three to six miles wide. But it’s remote and sparsely populated — with only about 550 year-round residents — and it can only be reached by boat or small plane.
Ferries serve the island from the mainland in warm months, but when the weather gets cold and the northern reaches of the lake ice over, Beaver Island residents mostly have to hunker down… Continue reading
I confess: I’ve dined on KFC in Nairobi, Big Macs in China, and A&W in Kuala Lumpur.
I’ve watched Bob Newhart reruns in Zimbabwe, ordered bacon and eggs in Mumbai, and visited the Holiday Inn in Swaziland.
There are times when seeing a familiar face — even Colonel Sanders — has proved reassuring while traveling in distant lands.
But usually not.
When I go abroad, in fact, I’m almost always drawn to the remote, the exotic, the unfamiliar, the unpredictable. Give me the jungles of the Amazon to the shores of Waikiki, the tea houses of Hong Kong to the salons of London, the ends of the earth to the easily accessible hubs.
When it comes to travel, I’m a hopeless Romantic, spurred by images on old postage stamps and scenes from Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre movies.… Continue reading
Third in a Series:
It was a tale of shipboard adventure and romance played out on the high seas.
Well, that may be a bit dramatic. But when one of our fellow shipmates fell onto another passenger while standing on deck during a rocking and rolling nighttime voyage between the islands of St. Lucia and Dominica on our recent Island Windjammers French West Indies Cruise, her husband gallantly came to the rescue and promptly fell onto the anchor chain.
The result: one broken wrist (wife), one badly sprained finger (husband).
Both remained good-humored throughout the trip, sling and bandaging notwithstanding. In fact, they were two of the most upbeat folks on board, and I heard not a complaint from either.
The sheer pleasure of being on a windjammer on tropical seas can turn even what appeared to be painful injuries… Continue reading