#TravelTuesday – South Carolina, USA

Categories: News

june 30Today’s Travel Tuesday destination is South Carolina, USA courtesy of the 1,000 Places to See Before You Die Page-A-Day calendar.

Top Attractions:

1. Beaufort and the Lowcountry: The honeycombed coastline of south of Charleston stretches for 200 miles, dissolving into peninsulas, channels, and subtropical Sea Islands that make up the South Carolina lowcountry. Kiawah Island is a key player, enjoying proximity to Charleston and boasting of the most talked-about golf resorts in North American (tennis and beach sports are also stellar). Its Sanctuary Hotel is a sumptuous choice for those who want to linger. Neighboring Hunting Island State Park, a nature reserve, is rife with loggerhead turtles, alligators, and herons.

  • Best Times: April-June and mid-September-January for pleasant weather; May for Beaufort’s Gullah Fest; early October for Beaufort’s Shrimp Festival.

2. The Heart of Charleston: At the time of the American Revolution, Charleston stood as one of the young nation’s largest, wealthiest, and most dynamic communities. Today this sultry and gracious metropolis at the confluence of the Cooper and Ashley rivers remains unparalleled in charm. Its wonderfully walkable historic district contains one of the nation’s largest collections of Colonial architecture, and a fair share of distinctive Victorian buildings as well. Charleston also delights visitors with its antiques shops, amiable residents, and the city’s emerging arts and food scenes.

  • Best Times: March for blooms; March-May and September-December for pleasant weather.

3. Lowcountry Cuisine: The coastal areas of South Carolina and Georgia are the home of lowcountry cuisine, a harmonious blending of French, Spanish, African, and Caribbean influences, and Charleston is its culinary capital. Drawing upon traditional ingredients like shrimp, oysters, crab, rice, grits, okra, and fried greens, lowcountry food has enjoyed a creative spin in recent years. At the city’s most hallowed culinary institutions, such as the Peninsula Grill and Circa 1886, and the slightly more casual but still highly refined magnolias, you’ll find time-honored recipes alongside more innovation dishes. Similarly, at Fig and Husk, the farm-to-table menus pay homage to the bounty of the lowcountry with an updated twist.

  • Best Times: Late January-early February for Lowcountry Oyster Festival; early October for Taste of Charleston Festival.

Read more on 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and the calendar line here.

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#TravelTuesday – Puerto Rico

Categories: News

june 23

Today’s Travel Tuesday destination is Puerto Rico, courtesy of the 1,000 Places to See Before You Die Page-A-Day calendar.

Top Attractions:

1. Rincón and La Ruta Panoramic: Puerto Rico’s wild and wonderful west coast is one of the world’s top surfing destinations, and its town of Rincón was put on the map when the World Surfing Championships were held here on Domes Beach in 1968. Rincón means “corner”—this is where the Atlantic and Caribbean meet, giving rise to waves that can break at heights of up to 25 feet. The secret has long been out—this California-vibe town attracts a steady flow of transient surfers from around the globe—but it’s a revelation to most.

  • Where Rincón is 100 miles/161 km west of San Juan.
  • Best Times: November-April for surfing and good weather; February for whale-watching; mid-February for the Coffee Festival in Maricao; March for Whale Festival in Rincón.

2. Old San Juan (pictured above): El Viejo San Juan, the seven-square-block landmark zone of the island’s capital, is a perfectly preserved microcosm of Spanish Colonial architecture and a walk back through history. Its narrow streets are paved with adoquine (a blue stone used as ballast on Spanish galleons), and its 16th-century fortresses, particularly the impregnable six-level El Morro rising 150 feet above the sea, still strike one as engineering marvels.

  • Best Times: November-April for nice weather; January for Festival de la Calle San Sebastian; mid-February-mid-March for Festival Casals; late June for Fiesta de San Juan Bautista; July for Puerto Rico Salsa Congress.

3. Vieques and Culebra: Puerto Rico’s smaller sister island Vieques is distinctive both for what it lacks (souvenir shops, spas, stoplights, and most other signs of tourist development) and what is possesses (a bio-luminescent bay, dozens of nearly deserted beaches, and a thriving population of free-roaming horses). The 62-year presence of the U.S. Navy, which occupied more than half the 21-mile island, kept the island from being developed. When it departed in 2003, the base became a national wildlife refuge (much of it is still closed to the public because of the ongoing cleanup of exploded ammunition).

  • Best Time: November-April for pleasant weather.

4. El Yunque National Forest: A popular day trip from San Juan, El Yunque combines all the magic of a rain forest—majestic trees, giant ferns, and mysterious peeps and trills emanating from the dense foliage in the rugged Luquillo Mountains. As the only tropical rain forest in the United States National Forest System, El Yunqe provides paved trails that are easy on children and inexperienced hikers. It even offers a drive-through option for windshield tourists who can enjoy the misty landscape and roadside waterfalls along Route 191, the only road through the 28,000-acre forest. But El Yunque, considered by the Taino Indians, is indubitably best experienced on foot. Home to thousands of plants, including 240 tree species (23 of which are found nowhere else) and 70 orchids, El Yunque has 13 hiking trails covering 23 miles of varied terrain.

  • Where: 22 miles/35 km southwest of San Juan. Tel: 787-888-1880; www.fs.usda.gov/elyunque 
  • Best Time: December-April for the least rain.

Read more on 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and the calendar line here.

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#TravelTuesday – Life Under the Waves

Categories: News

june 16

 

Today’s Travel Tuesday destination Life Under the Waves, courtesy of the 1,000 Places to See Before You Die Page-A-Day calendar.

1. Raja Ampat Archipelago, Papua, Indonesia: Raja Ampat is a long way from anywhere, and that is a significant part of the pristine archipelago’s appeal. So is the fact that it is one of the richest coral reef ecosystems on the planet. Located in the warm, shallow waters off the western Bird’s Head Peninsula of Indonesia’s Papua Province, Raja Ampat—or Four Kings—compromises more than 1,500 islands and islets clustered around the three main islands of Waigeo, Salawati, and Misool. The archipelago spans over 15,400 square miles of sea and it home to Cendarawasih Bay, the largest marine national park in the country.

  • Where: 995 miles/1,600 km northeast of Jakarta.
  • Best Times: Drift diving is possible year-round, although seas may be rougher from July-September; April-September is the wet season.

2. The Maldive Islands: Made up of 26 atolls scattered across the Indian Ocean from north to south in a shape that resembles an exclamation point, Maldives is a fragile wonderland of white sand, palms, lagoons, reefs, and Hockney-blue seas. Each resort—there are almost 100—occupies a private island and is dedicated to showing off its own jewel of the sea. Divers and snorkelers revel in the easy to access miles of coral gardens in shallow, crystal-clear waters. They come in search of small, colorful creatures like unicornfish, harlequin sweetlips, and glassfish, as well as hulking reef sharks and manta rays.

  • Where: 250 miles/400 km southwest of India, spreading more than 500 miles north to south.
  • Best Time: December-April for driest days and clearest waters.

3. Sipadan, Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia: Part of the Semporna Archipelago, off the coast of Borneo, tiny mushroom-shaped Sipadan sits atop a submerged volcano in a protected conservation zone. With a cap of only 120 visitors a day and no overnight accommodations, this speck of an island in the Celebes Sea appears on every diver’s dream list. Walk 15 feet of from the soft white sandy beach, stick your head in the water, and be prepared for the treat of a lifetime. Incredibly clear and calm waters enable even novice snorkelers to enjoy the wonders of the underwater kingdom. Experienced scuba divers can choose from 12 dive locations with seawalls that plunge 2,000 feet into a deep blue abyss, all less than a few minutes from shore by boat.

  • Where: 22 miles/36 km off northeast coast of Borneo.
  • Best Time: May-October for nicest weather, but diving is good year-round.

Read more on 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and the calendar line here.

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#TravelTuesday – South Island, New Zealand

Categories: News

june 9

Today’s Travel Tuesday destination is South Island, New Zealand, courtesy of the 1,000 Places to See Before You Die Page-A-Day Calendar.

Top Attractions:

1. Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park (pictured above): While the South Island of New Zealand is known for its palm trees and hibiscus plants, one third of the dazzling national park found here is covered in permanent snow and ice. Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park contains 72 named glaciers and 22 mountain peaks that top 9,840 feet, including the park’s namesake, which is New Zealand’s highest at 12,316 feet. This is the place to splurge on unforgettable flightseeing. Some flights include a snow landing on the 17-mile-long Tasman Glacier, the longest river of ice outside the Himalayas.

  • Where: 160 miles/257 km northeast of Queenstown.
  • How: Mount Cook Ski Planes offer plane and helicopter trips. Tel: 64/3-430-8034; www.skiplanes.co.nz; Glacier Explorer offers glacier lake boat trips. Tel: 64/3-435-1641; www.glacierexplorers.co.nz
  • Best Times:July-September for skiing; November-April for trekking and glacier tours.

2. Arthur’s Pass: Shortcuts are rare in New Zealand. Roads typically follow switchbacks over mountains, or avoid them completely, skirting their edges and piling on the miles needed to get from point A to point B. This had posed a distinct problem in the South Island, where the Southern Alps run the length of the land like a chain of vertebrae, dividing the east coast from the west. So the Kiwis created three grand coast-to-coast shortcuts: Lewis Pass in the north, Haast Pass in the south, and the crown jewel, Arthur’s Pass, in the center. The tiny Arthur’s Pass Village serves as a gateway to vast Arthur’s Pass National Park, which is marked by sprawling beech forests on its eastern side and deeply gorged rivers and thick rain forest to the west.

  • Where: Arthur’s Pass is 80 miles/130 km west of Christchurch.
  • Best Times: December-early April for warm weather and wildflowers; July-September for skiing and winter activities.

3. Fiordland National Park: The Australian’s may claim the Great Barrier Reef as the Eighth Wonder of the World, but Rudyard Kipling gave the honor to New Zealand’s Milford Sound. Milford is the most famous and accessible of the 15 fjords that make up the majestic 3-million-acre Fiordland National Park (the country’s largest) on the South Island’s southwestern coast. The 9.3-mile-long inlet is hemmed in by sheer granite cliffs rising up to 4,000 feet, with waterfalls cascading from the high mountain ridges. Playful bottlenose dolphins, fur seals, and gulls call its waters home, and crested penguins nest here in October and November before leaving for Antarctica.

  • Where: Most departures for Milford are from Te Anau, which is 107 miles/172 km southwest of Queenstown.
  • How: Ultimate Hikes leads guided treks. Tel: 64/3-450-1940; www.ultimatehikes.co.nz; Real Journeys offers Milford and Doubtful Sound cruises. Tel: 64/3-249-7416; www.realjourneys.co.nz
  • Best Time: October-April for spring and summer weather

4. The Grand Traverse:In a country where nature is king, it’s no surprise that “tramping” (aka hiking) is a national pastime—and what remarkable scenery there is to tramp through, particularly along the Grand Traverse, one of New Zealand’s premier trekking experiences. The 24-mile Routeburn Track is the first leg. It crosses the Southern Alps over the breathtaking 3,900-foot Harris Saddle and descends through a world of moss-clad trees, giant ferns, mountain streams, rich bird life, lakes, and waterfalls within Mount Aspiring National Park.

  • Where: Te Wahipounanu World Heritage Area, southwest corner of the South Island.
  • How: Ultimate Hike offers guided trek packages. Tel: 64/3-450-1940; www.ultimatehikes.co.nz
  • Best Time: January-February for most comfortable temperatures and least precipitation.

5. Marlborough Sounds: The Marlborough region of the South Island offers two irresistible reason to visit: in the north, the grandeur of the unspoiled Marlborough Sounds, with dozens of secluded bays and beaches, and in the south, the award-winning vineyards encircling the town of Blenheim. This area, formerly occupied by sheep farms, is the country’s largest and best-known center of viticulture, with more than 100 wineries producing internationally acclaimed chardonnay and sauvignon blanc and, more recently pinto gris, riesling, and gewurztraminer.

  • Where: Blenheim is 169 miles.272 km north of Christchurch.
  • How: Marlborough Sounds Adventure Company leads multi-day guided walks. Tel: 64/3-573-6078; www.marlboroughsounds.co.nz
  • Best Times: November-March for nice weather; February for Brews, Blues, and BBQs and the Marlborough Wine Festival.

6. The Home of Bungee Jumping and Jet Boating: If you want to learn something fundamental about the Kiwi character, you need only know that New Zealand is the recognized home of both bungee jumping and jet boating. The former act of madness originated as a coming-of-age ritual on the Pacific islands of Vanuatu. And while you may not have realized you had a burning desire to attach a thick rubber cord to your ankes before diving headfirst off a bridge, Queenstown’s high-energy brand of fun is infectious, and so far—with a 100 percent safety record—everyone has lived to brag about it.

  • How: For bungee jumping, A.J. Hackett Bungy, named for the man who made a historic leap from the Eiffel Tower in 1987; Tel: 64/3-442-4007;  For jet boats, Shotover Jet, Tel: 64/3-442-8570; www.shotoverjet.co.nz
  • Best Time: January-March for summer weather.

Read more on 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and the calendar line here.

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#TravelTuesday – Cairo, Egypt

Categories: News

june 2Today’s Travel Tuesday destination is Cairo, Egypt, courtesy of the 1,000 Places to See Before You Die Page-A-Day calendar.

Top Attractions:

1. Khan El-Khalili (pictured above): Cairo’s wonderful and chaotic centerpiece of Khanel-Khalili, one of the world’s great bazaars, established as a caravansary in 1382. You can lose yourself in the bewildering warren of back alleys, awash with the smells of spices, incense, and leather, and practice your haggling skills with merchants specializing in everything from carpets, gold, and fabric to perfume and cosmetics, such as the kohl that once outlined Cleopatra’s eyes.

2. Islamic Cairo: An amble through this ancient quarter of Cairo assails the senses and confounds the mind. Chickens, horses, and sheep walk the narrow, potholed streets, which are further congested by donkey carts, itinerant street vendors, and people going about their daily lives. Dust and rubble often obscure the faded architectural grandeur of what is still the intellectual and cultural center of the Arab world. There are a daunting number of sites to see here, but start at the spectacular 12th-century Citadel of Saladin, a heavily fortified bastion that was founded by the chivalrous foe of the Crusaders and offers a matchless panorama of Cairo’s minaret-punctuated skyline.

  • Best Times: November-March for pleasant weather; February or March for Al-Nitaq Festival celebrating Cairo’s vibrant theater, poetry, and art scene; November for Arabic Music Festival.

3. Museum of Egyptian Antiquities: Exploring Ancient Egypt’s empty tombs and monuments will leave just about anyone hungry to gaze upon the relics that were found inside. Which is why a visit to the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities (aka the Egyptian Museum) is a must. Housing an unparalleled collection of treasures that are arranged chronologically from the Old to the Middle to the New Kingdoms (which date from 2700—2200 B.C., respectively), it is so vast that if you allowed just one minute to examine each of its 136,000 pharonic artifacts, it would take 9 months to see it all. Many visitors focus on the breathtaking mummified remains of 27 pharaohs and their queens, along with the 1,700 objects unearthed in 1922 from the small tomb of the relatively insignificant (but now iconic) Pharaoh Tutankhaumun (King Tut).

Read more on 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and the calendar line here.

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#TravelTuesday – Ethiopia

Categories: News

may 26

Today’s Travel Tuesday destination is Ethiopia, courtesy of the 1,000 Places to See Before You Die Page-A-Day calendar.

Top Attractions:

1. Gonder: Strategically positioned at the foothills of the Simien Mountains, one of the highest ranges in Africa, the fortress city of Gonder became in the 17th century the first capital of the Ethiopian empire, under Emperor Fasilides. Surrounded by towering stone walls and filled with juniper and wild olive trees, the Royal Enclosure lies at the heart of Gonder and contains the country’s most important imperial buildings.

  • Where: 471 miles/758 km north of Addis Ababa.
  • Best Times: September-November for nicest weather; January 7 for Ethiopian Christmas; January 19 for Timkat (Epiphany).

2. Lalibela (pictured above): The subterranean rock-hewn churches of Lalibela are Ethiopia’s most popular—and mysterious—attraction. They have been in continuous use by Orthodox priests since the 12th century, when this remote mountain town was the capital of the Zagwe dynasty. Unique for the technical expertise used in their construction, they are also remarkable for their own refinement and are decorated with handwoven rugs, colorful paintings, carvings depicting saints and Christian symbols, and cross-shaped windows. The oft-photographed flat roof of St. George’s church (Beta Giyorgis) is carved with concentric Greek crosses.

  • Where: 454 miles/730 km north of Addis Ababa.
  • How: U.S.-based Adventures in Africa has scheduled tours featuring Lalibela. Tel: 866-778-1089 or 303-778-1089; www.adventuresinafrica.com 
  • Best Times: September-November for pleasant weather; January 7 for Ethiopian Christmas; January 19 for Epiphany; April or May for Fasika (Easter), corresponding to the Gregorian calendar.

3. Omo River Valley: A trip to the South Omo River Valley, much of it accessible only by boat, takes you back thousands of years through a kaleidoscope of vanishing nomadic cultures. Because Ethiopia is the only African nation never to have been colonized by Europeans, the tribes here haven remained nearly intact. The few thousand people who live in these green hills have preserved their culture to a remarkable degree, even as their numbers dwindle. Those who come to glimpse their distinct way of life before it disappears make one of the few tented camps or basic lodges their base, hiring guides to take them on trips to the communities nearby.

  • Where: The riverside town of Omurate is 457 miles/736 km southwest of Addis Ababa and is accessibly via private air charter.
  • How: U.S.-based Africa Adventure Company offers a 10-day Omo River safari. Tel: 800-882-9453 or 954-491-8877; www.africaadventure.com
  • Best Time: July-October for nicest weather.

4. Simien Mountain National Park: The Simien Mountains, know as the “Roof of Africa,” offer some of the continent’s most dramatic scenery: great volcanic plugs, formed 40 million years ago and eroded over the eons into fantastic crags, pinnacles, and flat-topped peaks stretching from Ethiopia’s northern highlands to Eritrea. This is the only place in the world to see many animal species, including the endangered walia ibex and troops of gelada, commonly known as the bleeding-heart baboon for the red patch on its chest.

  • Where: Trek begins in Debark 75 miles/120 km from Gonder.
  • How: Ethiopian Quadrants organizes treks of various lengths. Tel: 251/11-515-7990; www.ethiopianquadrants.com
  • Best Time: September-April to avoid the rainy season.

Read more on 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and the calendar line here.

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Good and Cheap in Your Community

Categories: News

Untitled

 

Attention booksellers! If you sell 28 copies (a carton) of Good and Cheap between now and the end of the year, Workman will donate a carton of the non-profit edition of the book to the local food charity of your choice.

 

 

Get the word out to your community that with their help you’ll be donating copies of Good and Cheap to a local charity!

Use this badge for your site and social channels:

Good and Cheap FB image

Display this easel with your copies of the book in the store:

Good and Cheap Easel

 

Email Jessica@workman.com if you are interested in participating!

About the author:

LEANNE BROWN - photocredit Jordan MatterLeanne Brown wrote Good and Cheap as the capstone for her master’s in food studies from New York University. After it went viral online as a PDF that has been downloaded over 700,000 times, Leanne launched a Kickstarter campaign to self-publish the book. Hundreds of thousands of viewers watched her video and donated $145,000, funding a 40,000-copy print run. The edition she published as a result of the campaign won the 2015 IACP Judge’s Choice Award. She and her husband live in New York City.

 

Follow Leanne online!

@leelb

 eatgoodandcheap

 @leanneebrown

 

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#TravelTuesday – Scotland

Categories: News

may 19

 

Today’s Travel Tuesday destination is Scotland, courtesy of the 1,000 Places to See Before You Die Page-A-Day calendar.

Top Attractions:

1. The Castle Trail (pictured above): A long history of battles, clan rivalries, and English invasions manifests itself in the 1,000-plus castles dotting Scotland’s landscape. Some are evocative ruins or little more than long-forgotten mounds in the heather, while others appear as sturdy and forebodding as the day they were built. Many remain inhabited after being flamboyantly refurbished in the Victorian era, when Scotland’s land-owning classes rediscovered a penchant for the turrets and towers of baronial architecture.

  • Where: Aberdeen is 125 miles/201 km north of Edinburgh.
  • Best Time: April-September for nicest weather.

2. Loch Ness: The deep waters of Loch Ness lie in a giant gash in the earth’s surface—a 60-million-year-old diagonal fault line that almost splits Scotland in two, with the Highland capital of Inverness at its northern end. Measuring 24 miles long and 775 feet deep, it’s one of the largest “lochs” (lakes) in Scotland, but its main claim to fame remains almost exclusively as home to the mythic Loch Ness Monster.

  • Where: Inverness is 171 miles/275 km north of Edinburgh.
  • Best Times: May-September for nice weather; end of July for Inverness Highland Games; September-October for fall colors in Glen Affric.

3. Balmoral Hotel and the Royal Scotsman: Standing proudly at the end of Edinburgh’s mile-long, shop-lined Princes Street is the historic and undeniably palatial Balmoral Hotel. Built in 1902 as a railway hotel, it is now one of the city’s most elegant landmarks, complete with kilted doorman at its entrance. Guests can day-dream their way through afternoon tea in the Drawing Room, eat like kings and queens in the refined surrounds of the Number One restaurant, or sample the bounty of Scotland’s best distilleries in the high-ceilinged Bollinger Bar in the Palm Court.

  • Where: 375 miles/603 km north of London.
  • Best Time: May-September for nicest weather.

4. The Hebrides: Off the crenellated northwest coast of Scotland lie the islands of the Hebrides. Divided neatly into two areas—Inner and Outer Hebrides—they are as representative of Scotland as the Highlands but manage to feel a world apart. The landscape of the Inner Hebrides never fails to impress, with high mountains dropping precipitously to the rocky shores and narrow sea-lochs cutting deep inland. On the island of Mull you’ll find the dark, rocky peak of Ben Mor and the scenic port of Tobermory, with its waterfront of gaily painted houses.

  • Where: Oban is the gateway to the Hebrides, 124 miles/200 km northwest of Edinburgh.
  • Best Times: May-September for best weather; mid-July for Lewis Highland Games; early August for Skye Highland Games.

5. Argyll Highlands: Halfway along Scotland’s filigree western coastline is the dramatic region of Argyll, where hills, glens, forests, and mountains stretch from the remote Ardnamurchan Peninsula, down to the Mull of Kintyre Lighthouse. Islands such as Colonsay, Mull, and Jura are just a ferry hop away across narrow straits, and slender fjordlike inlets dissect the landscape and mainland become wonderfully blurred.

Read more on 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and the calendar line here.

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#TravelTuesday – Wiltshire, England

Categories: News

may 12Today’s Travel Tuesday destination is Wiltshire, England, courtesy of the 1,000 Places to See Before You Die Page-A-Day calendar.

Top Attractions

1. Salisbury Cathedral: The 19th-century paintings of Turner and Constable familiarized the world with Salisbury Cathedral and its remarkable 404-foot spire, the tallest in the country and an iconic image of England. The cathedral was begun in 1220 and was completed in a record of 38 years (the spire was added toward the end of the century) making Salisbury the most architecturally unified of all the great European cathedrals and the very pinnacle of what is known as the Early English or pointed Gothic style. Inside is the oldest working clock in the world, dating back to the 1300s. It’s a strange mechanical contraption with no dial, designed to strike a bell to mark the passing hours. Climb up the spire’s internal steps for a striking view across the attractive and lively market town of Salisbury in the direction of Salisbury Plain and Stonehenge (see below), Wiltshire’s other significant site.

  • Where: 90 miles/145 km southwest of London; www.salisburycathedral.org.uk
  • Best Times: Tuesday and Saturday for the outdoor Salisbury Charter Market; April-October for the New Forest at its best; late May-early June for Salisbury Festival, and arts and cultural event.

2. Stonehenge: Britain’s best-known prehistoric site, Stonehenge is still as magical, mystical, and mysterious as it was probably always meant to be—but only if you catch it between tour bus caravans. No one knows for sure the reason for Stonehenge, although it is fairly certain that ancient Neolithic and Bronze Age peoples built this stunning collection of artfully placed rocks over a very long period, then used the site for rituals or ceremonies pertaining to the sun and perhaps also as a calendar. In the 17th century, the widely help view that the circle was somehow connected to the Celtic druids took hold and has never died, even though it has since been proved that Stonehenge predates the priestly cult by at least 1,500 years and probably more.

  • Where: 85 miles/137 km southwest of London.
  • Best Times: early morning or late afternoon to avoid crowds; summer and winter solstices (usually sunrise on June 21 and December 22), and spring and fall equinoxes (the half-way points between the solstices).

3. Stourhead Garden: Lying between gentle hills in the bucolic county of Wiltshire, Stourhead is arguably England’s finest and best-known example of 18th-century English landscape gardening, confirmation that no other country holds a candle to England’s horticultural expertise and passion. Stourhead’s poetic grounds—inspired by the paintings of Claude Lorrain and Gaspard Poussin—are punctuated with a neoclassical Pantheon, a grotto, and temples built to Flora and Apolla, creating a classical effect that is much mimicked around the world. The Stourhead estate was owned by the wealthy Hoare family from the early 18th century, and the gardens were created between 1740 and 1780 by Henry (“the Magnificent”) Hoare.

  • Where: 112 miles/180 km southwest of London. Tel: 44/1747-841-152; www.nationaltrust.org.uk
  • Best Times: March-April for daffodils; May-June for garden in full bloom; October for fall colors.

Read more on 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and the calendar line here.

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#TravelTuesday – Japan

Categories: News

may 5Today’s Travel Tuesday destination is Japan, courtesy of the 1,000 Places to See Before You Die Page-A-Day calendar.

Top Attractions:

1. Niseko: Three major bodies of water surround Japan’s main northern island of Hokkadio—the sea of Japan, the Sea of Okhotsk, and the Pacific Ocean—and when the freezing winter winds blow in from Siberia, they dump as much as 40 feet of dry powder snow (with a downy 4 percent moisture content). Niseko, a resort area that sits at the same latitude as Portland, Oregon, gets more of this perfect snow than Whistler or Vail could ever dream of, creating some of the world’s greatest ski runs.

  • Where: 160 miles/257 km southwest of Sapporo.
  • Best Times: December-March for skiing; May-October for fireworks at Lake Toya.

2. Hiroshima and Miyajima: It’s hard to imagine that the Hiroshima so devastated on August 6, 1945, is now a vibrant forward-looking city visited by millions every year who came from all over the world to pay their respects. The most prominent reminder of that fateful day is the twisted and charred shell of the old Industrial Promotion Hall, now known as the A-Bomb Dome (Genkaku Domu), left it its distressed state as a symbol of humankind’s self-destructiveness. Across the Motoyasu River is the Peace Memorial Park (Heiwa Kinen Koen), dotted with monuments to the victims of the world’s fist atomic-bomb attack, and a sobering museum with displays that relive one of the worst days in history, beginning with a watch forever stopped at 8:15 a.m.

  • Where: 537 miles/864 km southwest of Tokyo on the Seto Inland Sea.
  • Best Times: August 6 for bombing anniversary, when white doves are released; late March-April for cherry blossoms; October-early November for autumn foliage on Miyajima island.

3. Kyoto: To stroll through Kyoto is to travel through 11 centuries of Japan’s history. Once the home of the imperial court, the city as also a center of Japanese religion, aesthetics, music, theater, and dance, reaching its height as a center for crafts during the Muromachi Period (1334-1568). Spared by Allied bombing during World War II, the city is said to hold 20 percent of all Japan’s national treasures, including more than 1,700 Buddhist temples and 300 Shinto shrines, all dispersed (often hidden) amid its modern cityscape.

4. Tokyo: Japan’s frenetic capital is a trip in more ways than one. By turns reassuringly familiar and unsettlingly strange, Tokyo offers up neon-bright canyons of consumerism, contemporary pop culture escapades, outstanding dining, and blissful, Zen-calm gardens and shrines. The effects of the catastrophic 2011 earthquake and its aftermath will be felt for years to come. But to the unsuspecting eye, life in Tokyo continues without a blip at high speed and around the clock. An astonishing architectural mishmash, its densely packed neighborhoods include everything from the remnants of a 17th-century castle to high-tech towers wrapped in giant LED displays. With perpetual change hardwired into its DNA, it is the ultimate urban adventure.

5. Walking the Nakasendo: In the 17th century the 330-mile Nakasendo—literally “the road through the central mountains”—was the principal inland route between the Imperial capital, Kyoto, and Edo, the Shogun’s seat of power (better known these days as Tokyo). The 74-mile-long Kiso-ji section of the Nakasendo, winding its way through the Kiso Valley, is one of the most scenic and best-preserved parts of the route. Three of the 11 post towns (places where travelers would rest and take refreshments) that originally lined the Kiso-ji are particularly worth visiting for their efforts to preserve the look and feel of feudal Japan.

  • Where: Tsumago is 50 miles/80 km south of Matsumoto.
  • How: Walk Japan organizes 12-day tours of the region. Tel: 81/90-5026-3638; www.walkjapan.com.
  • Best Times: April for cherry blossoms; May for azaleas; late October-November for fall foliage.

Read more on 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and the calendar line here.

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