Friday, May 15, 2009

Dreaming of a Paneled Station Wagon

When I was a little I remember my friends at school telling me about these grand family vacations they would take. Their parents would load up the paneled station with kids, clothes, and bologna sandwiches and head out for fascinating destinations I had heard about but never seen. I knew they had to listen to their parents idea of good music and deal with their siblings crossing the magic line on the seat into their territory. I knew that they drove for hours at a time stopping only to stretch their legs and have the ever important potty break. Don't bother asking to stop before Dad is ready and don't you dare ask if "we're there yet".

The ritual of their family vacation fascinated me as much as the mystical places they went: Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone Park, The Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, and Door County.

My summer vacations always started with a bag packed by mother and ended on the door step of my grandparents homes - one in a quaint small town the other on a farm. While I was on my vacations (oh lets face it these vacations weren't for me they were for my mother and her sanity) I was happy and never considered a better way to spend my time - until I returned to school the following year when the green eyed monster would rear its ugly head because I had no postcards, t-shirts, or bumper stickers to share or show off.

I'm pretty sure this lack of childhood travel is one reason I love everything about travel. I love planning trips, going on trips, talking about trips, clipping articles about places I want to see, and reading travel books. Whenever I vacation I spend a lot of time in the planning phase, searching out the best places to stay, the things we must see and looking for hidden gems. So, when I was offered the opportunity to read and review the newly revised and updated travel classic Off The Beaten Path by the editors of Readers Digest I just couldn't resist.

Title: Off The Beaten Path A Travel Guide to More Than 1,000 Scenic and Interesting Places Still Uncrowded and Inviting
Author: Readers Digest
Publisher: Readers Digest Association
Genre: Travel Guide
Pages: 384 Hardcover
On Sale: March 30, 2009


From the Editors
Off the Beaten Path is an invaluable vacation planner. Jam-packed with more than 1,000 U.S. destinations, it shows you where to go, how to get there, and what you need to know before you take to the road -- whether for a day trip or an extended vacation.

Secret destinations, Overlooked natural wonders, heart-stopping scenery -- all are out there waiting for you to explore. Beautifully illustrated, this fact-filled travel book is the insider's guide to more than 1,000 places across the country. Discover the majesty of our 50 states and revel in nature, science, art, and culture as you encounter unexpected gems from Maine to Hawaii.

In this newly revised third edition of a travel classic, you will find . . .
* More than 200 new places to visit
* All-new state maps pinpointing each site
* Over 400 new, stunning full-color photographs
* A list of seasonal events for every state
* 16 icons highlighting each site's features, including wi-fi, pet friendly, and accessible facilities
* A companion website offering additional destinations and handy traveler's tips
* Researched and updated visitor information, including websites

I've spent a lot of time thumbing through and reading this book since it arrived on my doorstep and I have to say I think it's a winner. This book is well organized and the information presented for each site is enough to help you determine if it will be of interest to you while supplying the tools you need to investigate further. Tied together with beautiful photography Off The Beaten Path will make not only a handy travel planner but also a beautiful book to display on my coffee table. Because the book has so much packed in, it is hefty, so it certainly won't take the place of a small travel guide you drop in your bag; but if you've got a road trip planned I wouldn't hesitate to bring it along. Off The Beaten Path would make an excellent gift for someone who spends a lot of time on the road, be it for pleasure or business and I think it would be a must have for every RV.

I really enjoyed this book and will find it an invaluable resource as I plan both extended family vacations and budget friendly family day trips. This summer we plan on using Off The Beaten Path as a guidebook for our ongoing Explore Minnesota family vacation; we're going to explore those off beat places that are close to home but we've missed or never knew existed. It may not be the paneled station wagon vacation I thought I always wanted, but I know that with Off The Beaten Path as our guide we're going to have some wonderful memories of mystical places other people will wish they'd been.

In exchange for reading and reviewing this book I was supplied with a free copy

No comments: