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National Park Week is upon us, which, on a grand scale, is a time to reflect on what an incredible job our country does at preserving its natural landscape. We are the world leader in this effort, especially when you consider the size of our country and how many cooks we have in the kitchen as compared to other nations.
Although vast open space is the first thing that comes to mind when we think of a National Park, the sites actually come in all shapes and sizes, and include monuments, battlefields, military parks, historical parks, historic sites, lakeshores, seashores, recreation areas, scenic rivers and trails, and even the White House (President’s Park). And as you’ll see, some are even found in cities and take up less space than an apartment building. In total, the parks cover 84 million acres in all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
Four newly designated National Historic Landmarks were named by U.S. Department of the Interior only yesterday, but only three of the four will welcome your visit. Most accessible is the "Detroit Industry" murals (pictured above) by artist Diego Rivera.
Of the group, the odd one out is actually a tragic airplane crash site, with exact coordinates kept secret although it exists somewhere in the more remote stretches of the Grand Canyon.
Here's all four newly landmarked areas, and why they matter:
If you haven’t yet heard of the Shukhov Tower, now’s a good time to check it out (at least on Wikipedia), as it might not be around much longer. The funky landmark is a radio tower over in Russia, and some have even called it the country’s version of the Eiffel Tower. We wouldn’t go that far, but there are preservationists eager to keep it hanging around for future generations.
The thing rises 525-feet into the Soviet sky, but structurally it's a little shaky and needs to come down sooner rather than later. Meanwhile, the aforementioned preservationists cite the symbolism of the tower as it relates to Russia’s history and past advances in telecommunications.
You'd think, with Instagram celebrating its fourth birthday this year, that the limits of intriguing new accounts would be stretched. Alas, we still find new and interesting people to follow, and one such account is @usinterior. It's actually the official account of the US Department of the Interior.
They've been active on the app for nearly two years, but only now are they taking the step to get interactive, announcing a contest to join in their first Insta-Meet for the reopening of the Washington Monument on May 12. You see, the monument closed after a 5.8-magnitude earthquake shook the DC area in 2011. This caused cracks near the top of the monument, closing it indefinitely...or at least until May 12.
The opportunity to be among the first back into the national landmark sounds awesome, but there is a major catch:
Landmarks / Chile Travel / Chiloe Travel / Island Travel / South America Travel / Only in South America / Historical Travel / Religious Travel / → All Tags
Chile’s Chiloé Island is no quick weekend getaway (unless you happen to live in Santiago), but its remote beauty is worth the trek halfway down the world. Until a year ago, the island was only reachable by boat, but in 2012 Chiloé welcomed an airport. The tiny but beautiful red terminal serves only one flight at a time, either to or from Santiago and only on LAN.
To set foot in Chiloé, you'll need to fly into Santiago and, there, transfer to a flight to Castro, Chiloé’s capital. The flight first stops in Puerto Montt, where once travelers picked up the ferry, before the flight continues on for about twenty more minutes to arrive in Chiloé. (This leg is so short that you won’t be able to go to the bathroom or turn your Kindle back on.)
If you've been to Hong Kong, you know that the buzz really never stops. Even with all this action, it can be nice to have a quiet moment with some self-reflection; that's where the city's Tian Tan Buddha (more commonly called Big Buddha) comes in handy. Not only does it offer a little time-out from the energy of the city, but it comes complete with killer 360-degree views of the neighboring islands and waterways.
Just east of the city, at the end of the Tung Ching MTR line, sits Lantau Island. Lantau is better known as the home of Hong Kong International Airport, but amongst some high-rise apartment buildings and incoming approaches is a substantial gondola station taking visitors from sea-level and through the mountains to Ngong Ping. This is a kicking off point to what was the biggest sitting Buddha statue until 2007. It's so big that some say on a clear day it can be seen from Macau, but Hong Kong's clear days are few and far between, so we're not too sure about that.
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Downton Abbey just started its fourth season last night—at least overseas—and here at home the television series was mostly snubbed during last evening’s Emmy Awards presentation. They only brought home one piece of hardware, as the show scored a trophy for outstanding music composition. Regardless of what the award show says we know you still love the show, so that’s why we wanted to let you know that you can now visit Downton Abbey.
It sounds like it’s a temporary thing, so you better free up your calendar as soon as possible. Highclere Castle—that’s where a lot of the show is filmed—will be open to those willing to shell out the cash, as it’s going to be available to check out as part of a little bit of a vacation package.
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The Vineyard Gazette of Martha's Vineyard, MA is 167 years old and, though newspapers fail left and right seemingly weekly now, this one is only picking up steam with every crank and bang in the Press Room. It's also one of the few to welcome public visitors for a tour and to observe the actual printing...for free.
With a print run of 10,000 per week, the Vineyard Gazette considers itself a "boutique newspaper," a true broadsheet for locals as well as the summer vacationers who spend the majority of the year pining for the day they may return for sun and sea. Reading the latest news about the island's bird population, therefore, isn't trivial but integral to keeping on "island time" even on the other side of the world. The latest headline? "Biggest-Ever White Shark Tagging Expedition Launched in Woods Hole.
Speaking of, the Gazette shared with us that they'll mail papers everywhere from as near as Cape Cod to as far as Singapore, though the latter will cost a couple hundred dollars a year thanks to the international delivery fees.
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On the banks of Bangkok's Chao Phraya River sits one of the city's most dramatic temples, Wat Arun. It's really hard to miss if you've hopped one of the tourist boat rides up or down the river, and virtually impossible to ignore if you're staying in one of the riverside hotels dotting the banks.
"Wat Arun" translates to "Temple of Dawn" and, if you are lucky enough to see the temple glisten in the rising sun's light, you'll understand why. Thought to have been originally built in the 17th Century, the Khmer-reminiscent towers can be spied from most everywhere in the neighborhood as they keep a watchful presence not only over the river, but the Bangkok Yai District.
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It's been called "the face of American ruin porn" and an average nice weather day sees scores of cars driving by solely for a photograph. Serious shooters set up tripods in the weeds, and a meal at Slows BBQ is often followed by a stroll over to stare. Though Detroit's Michigan Central Station turns 100 this year, the last train departed in 1988, at which time the 18-story structure began its rapid decline from proud landmark to toothless sideshow attraction. The carcass of crumbling stone now draws curious gawkers like gnats, a form of architectural thanatourism.
Even the New York Times called Detroit "the world capital of of staring at abandoned old buildings" and, of the station, said: "It’s hard not to think of it as an epic-scale disaster that seems engineered to illustrate man’s folly — as if the Titanic, after sinking, had washed ashore and been beached as a warning."
Austria Travel / Active Travel / Bridges / Mountains / Tourism / Landmarks / → All Tags
If you’re looking for something a little different during your European holiday this summer look towards Austria. We’re not necessarily talking about the country as a whole—although we’re sure you’d have a great time—but rather one of its newest tourist attractions.
Sitting up in the Alps, there’s a new way to check out the view of the Dachstein massif and the surrounding area. Located somewhat near Schladming sits a brand new suspension bridge that pretty much leads you right off a cliff—safely of course.
The travel industry is no stranger to the concept of loving something to death, and it seems like Angkor Wat in Cambodia is trying to make sure they don’t suffer such a fate.
The rise of tourism in the area has certainly been financially beneficial for the country, with some 250,000 visitors in 2001 growing to 2 million per year today. But the increase in the amount of people has taken its toll, specifically in the popular sunset viewing locations throughout the complex. Reports are that the surrounding environment is being negatively affected by the hordes of people stomping around in the same places, night in and night out, for the past decade.