Vintage went to McKinney, TX

OK, I feel awfully guilty for royally slacking on the blog! I did NOT realize my last post was almost a month ago! Totally not acceptable. No wonder I haven’t been my 100% percent lately. I consider writing as my therapy. Not wise to be skipping out on “therapy” this often!

But…in my defense…I have been busy prepping for the new house (shopping, shopping, etc.), stressing about the move (I despise packing/unpacking), traveling (so excited to share my adventure with you – post coming up next week!) and of course, work never manages to bore me (ps: I love my job!)

About a month ago I covered a flea market locally in the Houston area in this post. This flea market was hosted by Vintage Market Days. I discovered VMD on Facebook. Found out it was featured in Country Living magazine as one of the “7 Flea Markets & Barn Sales Not To Miss in 2015“. This piece of revelation was enough to convince me to make a short trip to Hempstead. After spending a day and a half at the VMD flea market, I realized what a wise decision I made! It was love at first sight! I heart barn sales to begin with (my sister likes to think I follow all of them on the road) and this one tops my list so far.

So you know what I did next. I followed VMD to McKinney TX a week later! Even better. The stuff was so great. People were nice. Weather was pleasant. And my company of friends & family in Dallas TX rocked! I spent an entire day at the event. Bought lots of cool stuff for the house.

I think my sister may have a point there. Looks like I’ll be a VMD groupie for at least the next several months. Have already noted down their 2016 flea markets on my calendar. They are in Dripping Springs, TX (near Austin/Hill Country) this weekend as we speak. Looks like I will be missing out on this one 😦 but check out the VMD site and if they happen to cruise by your town, do drop by. You will not be disappointed.

Now off to pics!

PS: I picked up business cards of vendors whose stuff I really liked. The links/phone numbers to their shops are posted right below the pictures.

List of Vendors:

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Vintage came to Houston!

Well…sorta…it came to a little town north of Houston named Hempstead over this past weekend…and left 😦

It was the event I had been waiting for – Vintage Market Days, featured in Country Living as one of the “7 Flea Markets & Barn Sales Not To Miss in 2015“!

Did I tell you one of my New Years resolution for next year is to visit every damn barn sale in this country?

The addiction sprung up sometime around late last year as I perused through blogs and magazines to rediscover my design style. There was an emerging propensity in my heart towards all things old and it wasn’t until I picked up an issue of Better Homes & Garden that I knew I had found my Home. And before you know it, flea markets and barn sales began to crowd my 2015 calendar.

My biggest show was going to be the Roundtop Antique Fair in September/October of this year – one of country’s biggest flea markets stretching across 25 miles between Fayetteville and Carmine over the course of two weeks. It’s main attraction – Marburger Farm Antique Show. OKAY! I’ll stop right there! Only because THIS antique fair deserves a post of its own; I am itching to put my two cents in!!

Anyhow, so back to Vintage Market Days. Country Living was absolutely on point! This was indeed a well organized and an absolute FUN barn sale to go to. Small but relevant with some interestingly unique pieces. And most importantly, prices everywhere were REASONABLE for a flea market rated high on Country Living’s list. Each time I laid my hands on a piece, I found it to be priced right around how much I would pay for it. Vendors were super nice and chatty. I spent a decent amount of time at each tent. The fair took up almost 4 hours of my time.

VMD is now heading to McKinney TX (close to Dallas) this coming weekend! If you’re into this type of adventure and you happen to be in Texas, I hope my pictures convince you enough to embark on a short trip to Dallas this weekend.

Here are some of the vendors from this past weekend (fortunately I picked up several business cards; unfortunately they’re sitting in another car as we speak 😦 Hence the list of vendors is short for now. I promise to update this post sometime this week to list remaining vendors from the fair so be sure to drop by again!):

33 Restaurants with Spectacular Views!

Turns out food is not the only luxury served best at these restaurants.

Next time you’re on a journey around the world, pamper yourself with a meal and a view, at what is voted by travel magazines and experts, restaurants with the most spectacular views!

I can’t vouch for the quality of the food though. Hoping the meal is as refreshing as the view you take in!

AMERICAS

Sierra Mar – Big Sur, California

sierra Mar, Big Sur, CA

The Encounter, LAX – Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles, California, USA --- Encounter Restaurant at Los Angeles Airport --- Image by © Chris Daniels/CORBIS

George’s At The Cove – La Jolla, California

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Surf Lodge Restaurant – Montauk, New York

Surf Lodge Restaurant, Montauk, NY

The River Cafe – Brooklyn, New York

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Mirror Lake Inn – Lake Placid, New York

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Elements Restaurant – Scottsdale, Arizona

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Dasheene – St. Lucia, West Indies

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Sanctuary Lodge – Cuzco, Peru

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EUROPE

Les Remparts – Eze Village, France

Les Remparts, Eze Village, France

Le Panoramic – Chamonix, France

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La Sponda – Positano, Italy

La Sponda, Positano, Italy

Belvedere, Hotel Caruso – Amalfi Coast, Italy

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Ristorante Grotta Palazzese – Puglia, Italy

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Club Del Doge Restaurant – Venice, Italy

Club del Doge Restaurant, Venice, Italy

Rossellini’s – Ravello, Italy

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Hotel Edelweiss – Murren, Switzerland

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360 – Istanbul, Turkey

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ASIA

101 at One&Only, The Palm – Dubai, UAE

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Saidpur Village, Pakistan

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The Monal – Islamabad, Pakistan

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Vertigo, Banyan Tree – Bangkok

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Soneva Kiri – Koh Kood, Thailand

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The Grotto – Krabi, Thailand

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Kupu Kupu Barong Villas – Bali, Indonesia

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Waterfalls Restaurant – San Pablo City, Philippines

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Felix – Hong Kong

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Skyline Restaurant – Queenstown, New Zealand

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AFRICA

Delaire Graff Restaurant – Stellenbosch, South Africa

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Ngorongoro Crater Lodge – Tanzania

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Klein’s Camp – Serengeti, Tanzania

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The Rock Restaurant – Zanzibar, Tanzania

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Ali Barbour’s Cave Restaurant – Diani Beach, Kenya

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Best Hidden Gems in U.S.

Maybe next year I should take time off on weekends and catch a quick flight to enjoy these beautiful small towns and natural landscapes. I don’t think we have entirely discovered the amazing hidden corners of this country. I always end up in L.A. or Miami or NYC, you know your typical big cities. But when I have more time to get out of the cities a bit, I find myself exploring much more intriguing destinations. Honestly, big city traveling is becoming boring and monotonous. Maybe it’s time to start backpacking to some of these local towns for a quick weekend getaway.

Lately I’ve been running into articles and posts geared towards U.S. traveling. One of those moments where you click on a link & very soon another recommendation pops up for you. And before you know it, you’re on a roll getting brain fed by all these ideas. Yep! That’s how I ran across some of these places and thought, hmmh why not share! You never know one of you might be heading close to some of these cities for your next business trip or an out-of-town family wedding. Wouldn’t hurt to rent a car and explore the surroundings!

Let me know if you have visited any of these places and what are your thoughts. Do you recommend? Where did you stay? How was your stay? What were the people like? Was the dining scene happening? I’m always curious! And never bored!

Leavenworth, WA

The entire town is modeled after a Bavarian village!

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Stowe, VT

A place to relax into cozy small-town New England quaintness

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Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA

Last year I drove right through this town on my way to Big Sur but didn’t get a chance to stop and explore. Clint Eastwood was once mayor and Doris Day helped make Carmel dog heaven on earth.

Carmel River Beach

Carmel Plaze Courtyard

Abingdon, VA

An historic city surrounded by Blue Ridge Mountains

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Abingdon

Jackson, WY

This cowboy town is located near Yellowstone National Park

Downtown Jackson, near Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.

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Marfa, TX

I’ve been meaning to drive to this artsy town for 2 years now, known for its famous Prada store

Marfa

Galena, IL

Once home to nine civil war generals

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Mitchell, OR

Home to Painted Hills, one of the seven wonders of Oregon

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Midway, UT

Stay at Homestead Resort, home to geothermal spring where you can snorkel, soak or scuba dive

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Channel Islands, CA

A place you don’t wanna miss!

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Have I convinced you enough?

Ok, Swimming is supposed to be soothing not terrifying!

Crazy sky pool

OK, Am I the only one terrified of this 10-story high sky pool built entirely of glass? I mean it’s one way to snoop around your neighborhood’s backyard but that’s if I make it there with my guts still intact!

I’m not so sure how I’ll react to staring at the bottom of the pool when the bottom is barely there!

What a way to psych your Acrophobia!

Construction is set to begin this summer to be ready for move-in by 2017. In case you’re interested…

Oh, and it’s in South London!

Crazy sky pool2 Crazy sky pool3

How do you feel about this?!

Gallery

Meet The National Geographic Traveler Of The Year – Part III – Jordan

This will be my last post dedicated to Heather Finnecy‘s photography-rich trip to Middle East to document the lives of women in the region for her project From What I Can See.

If you are reading this for the first time, make sure to read my posts on Heather’s journey to Lebanon and Kuwait and then to Palestine.

Today we will see the women of Jordan!

Jordan

Home Sweet Home

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Women’s Union

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College Girls – University of Jordan

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Dana, The Nutritionist

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For more on Jordan, be sure to visit Heather’s portfolio of pictures here.

Gallery

Meet The National Geographic Traveler Of The Year – Part II – Palestine

Last week I attempted to introduce the works of Heather Finnecy, a photographer from San Francisco who set off on a quest to photograph women of Middle East. Heather was 2014’s National Geographic’s Traveler Of The Year. I had all intentions to continue sharing her work last week. What I didn’t anticipate is between Ramadan, work, play, volunteering, with bits of spiritual moments here and there, I wouldn’t be left with any time to dedicate to this blog.

So today I pick up where I left off.

Last week we peeked into the lives of women in Lebanon and Jordan. Today we embark on a journey to Palestine.

Make sure to visit her project site From What I Can See for a complete gallery showcasing her journey into the Middle East.

Palestine

The Laisoon Sisters

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Ruba & Family

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Work-It Girl

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The Wall – West Bank

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Visit here for a deeper look into the restricted territories of Palestine!

Meet The National Geographic Traveler Of The Year – Part I

Heather Finnecy

Meet Heather Finnecy.

A photographer from San Francisco set out on a journey to photograph the women of Middle East, in territories many would steer clear of. “As an American, I found there was a hole in the imagery and information that I received about the daily lives of women in the world,” she says. “So I decided to set out and see for myself what it was like.” In her quest to find out what it is like for women in other cultures, she visited Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Kuwait, UAE and Afghanistan.

I want to share some of her work with you and I encourage you to visit her project site From What I Can See to view all photographs captured during her Middle East itinerary.

I’m grateful for people like Heather who’ve taken the initiative to walk into unpopular territories exposing a side of the Muslim world unbeknownst to many in the West. Contrary to images of fear, chaos and oppression propagated by Media in our daily lives, her photographs show a rather different perspective of the Middle East – a more modern side. It provides a lens into the lives of women who are striving for their aspirations and dreams just like us. “I believe that every time I go to a new country and I connect with a human there, I am making the world smaller,” Finnecy says. This is so true! The more I travel, the more I realize people essentially everywhere strive for similar things in life. We are more alike then we think we are in spite of our differences in race, religion, culture and traditions. Recognizing this “commonality” we share with people from other parts of the world helps create a bond. And once we establish a bond, we will learn to fear less and respect more. For we only fear what we don’t know.

There’s so much of her work I want to share but I want to leave plenty for you to view on her website.

Since there are a plethora of photographs, today’s post is dedicated to Heather’s journey to Lebanon and Kuwait.

Beirut, Lebanon

Shop Girls

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Beirut23

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Streets of Beirut

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American University of Beirut

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On the Waterfront

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See more photographs of Lebanon here

Kuwait

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See more photographs of Kuwait here

Tomorrow we will take a peek into Heather’s journey to Palestine and Jordan.

Best of the Best Travel Apps for Travel Junkies

BestTravelApps

My recent trip to Japan elevated my respect for technology to a new level. The information I could obtain back in 2009 using 7 hard copies of Rick Steve’s guides crumbled up in my purse can now be accessed with a single click on the phone. With the right apps to address your needs on-the-go, you can optimize your convenience and comfort on the road at the same time alleviate the every-day hassles which tend to slow you down. In my Japan Guide 101 published a couple of weeks ago, I highlighted a number of apps such as Waygo which made our communication in Japan so much easier. After my trip, I set out on a task to uncover as many travel apps I could possibly find to ease the load off but more importantly, add a thick layer of excitement to my future travel plans! I was amazed at what & how much is out there I wasn’t aware of. But first I needed to be sure these apps were (1) reputable, and (2) user-friendly, hence making them (3) download worthy. After a thorough selection process, I chose several to share with you. Hopefully you weren’t as clueless as I was!

The Booking Phase

Hopper (via BGR) – Hopper uses historical data to try to tell you when you should book your flight. It also provides a timeline of exactly how to expect prices to trend. Other similar apps to try are Airfarewatchdog and Yapta.

But If Shit Happens…

Roomer (via Buzzfeed) – What do you do when you run into last minute change of plans or an emergency to attend to but your hotel booking is non-refundable? You pay cancellation fees! But if you use Roomer, you can list your room and wait to hear from someone who wants to take over your reservation — so no extra fees out of your pocket!

The Planning Phase

Google Calendar (via Fast Company) – Google Calendar‘s redesigned functionality automatically sucks in upcoming flights, concerts or reservations from your email into your schedule. Other similar apps are TripCase and Tripit.

CityMaps2Go (via Buzzfeed) – If you’re traveling outside your country and have to depend on Wi-Fi for internet, it’s smart to download all the maps you’ll need in advance at CityMaps2Go. They’re stored offline so you’ll avoid roaming charges. Other similar apps are Citymapper and Maplets.

The “Painful” Packing Phase

PackPoint (via Quaintrelleoquist) – PackPoint is a free packing list app which helps you organize what you need to pack based on length of travel, weather of your destination, and any activities planned during your trip. Their motto: Never forget your _____ again!

The Airport Phase

My TSA (via Buzzfeed) – My TSA allows you to look up how long the security wait times are at your airport so you’ll be sure to arrive early enough to make your flight. For help on navigating the airport, also check out GateGuru and Flight Aware.

LoungeBuddy (via Tom’s Guide) – Whether you’re traveling Economy or First Class, LoungeBuddy helps you find airport lounges in any of more than 500 airports worldwide for free or one-time fee.

Time-To-Hit-The-Road Phase

Roadtrippers (via Buzzfeed) – Roadtrippers is a must-have for anyone planning a road trip in the United States. You enter where you want to go, make selections depending on what you want to see (natural wonders! weird stuff!), and the app will create a customized map for you. Similar apps include WunderWalk, AroundMe and Fieldtripper.

iExit (via Baltimore) – iExit pinpoints your location/direction via GPS, it tells you what lies ahead exit by exit (up to 100 of them) so you can plan gas stops, bathroom breaks, meals, lodging, and other road-tripping necessities.

Gas Buddy (via iGeeksBlog) – For avid road trippers, Gas Buddy is your best buddy on the road when it comes to finding cheap gas in your vicinity using Google Maps.

Postagram (via Time) – Postagram lets you upload a vacation picture, type in a greeting, print out the card and send it through snail mail for 99 cents in the U.S. and $1.99 worldwide.

Track My Tour (via Buzzfeed) – Track My Tour allows your loved ones to “join” you on a trip from the comfort of their homes. They “follow a breadcrumb trail of your tour by visiting the link you sent them,” while you document the most exciting spots you visit as you go. What3Words app delivers a slightly similar experience.

Parkopedia (via Rough Guides) – With the help of Parkopedia, locate parking spaces near you using GPS services, see parking availability in real-time and check prices, payment methods and opening times – before you even get behind the wheel.

But If Shit Happens…

Rain Alarm (via Telegraph) – Rain Alarm app warns you against approaching precipitation like rain or snow within your selected radius using (almost) real-time data. A useful assistant for everything outdoors like cycling, biking, hiking, gardening, BBQ, picnics, dog walking, home improvement and more.

Wi-Fi Finder (via pcmag) – With 320,000 locations in 140 countries worldwide, Wi-Fi Finder does just what it says, helps users find nearby Wi-Fi locations. And thankfully, locations can be downloaded for use when you’re not online, smart!

Pocket (via Rough Guides) – Pocket is a hugely useful app that lets you save web articles and videos to your your device for offline reading at a later date – perfect for that long train journey or 12-hour flight. The best part is that it’s compatible across devices, meaning your saved articles will synchronize across all of them when connected to the internet.

LogMeIn (via Buzzfeed) – It’s a horrible moment when you realize that you need a file stored on your home computer when you’re 700 (or even just 30) miles away from it. LogMeIn allows you to access (and control) your home computer from anywhere.

Lookout (via Telegraph) – Lookout app scans downloads for viruses and other malware, and allows you to track or remotely wipe a phone if it is lost or stolen.

The Wine-n-Dine Phase

OpenTable (via Baltimore) – OpenTable is your mobile concierge to help you make dinner reservations anywhere. Search for restaurants by location or name, browse top and trendy dining spots, and then let OpenTable search for available dates and times. When you’ve chosen one, book it with one tap. The app instantly confirms the reservation, sends you a reminder in advance and invites your friends on your behalf. To enhance your dining or other city-cruising experiences, be sure to check out TV Food Maps (guide to restaurants featured on Chopped and Diners, Drive-ins and Dives), FlavourUnlike, 12hrs, Spotted By Locals and Trover.

The Language-Disconnect Phase

Google Translate (via Time) – Google Translate recently launched “Conversation mode.” Simply open the app, hold the mobile device between two people speaking a different language, and listen as it translates a conversation live. Other awesome apps to kill the language barrier are Waygo, iTranslate and TripLingo.

The Facebook-Status-Update Phase

Hyperlapse (via uncrate) – Hyperlapse from Instagram lets you shoot time lapse videos that can be played back at up to 12 times the speed you shot it, allowing you to show a day’s worth of action in just 30 seconds or less.

Shift (via appadvice) – Shift by Pixite just took photo editing to a whole new level. It gives you complete freedom to make your own personalized photo filters. In other words, when it comes to photo editing, the sky is the limit. Here’s how the app works. Time to give oldies like Vibrance, VSCO Cam, Litely and Camera+ a break.

The Track-Your-Expenses Phase

Expensify (via Tom’s Guide) – If you’re a business traveler then Expensify is your Bestie for life! It allows you to manually track your expenses. You can photograph your receipts, have it read by computer and automatically generate as an expense. In addition to receipt scanning, Expensify offers input options for travel mileage, time and rate based expenses, as well as automatic currency conversion.

Cost Split (via Rough Guides) – Cost Split lets you set up a budget for each trip with the names of the people splitting the costs, so you can keep track of who spends what. When you’re ready to settle your debts at the end of your trip, you can run a report which tells you who should pay what to whom. Splitwise is a similar app to try.

The Back-To-Reality Phase

Dude Where’s My Car? (via Buzzfeed) – The last thing you want to do when you get back from a trip is wander around the airport parking garage for 30 minutes, exasperatedly searching for your vehicle. Dude Where’s My Car keeps track of *exactly* where you parked and will guide you back to that spot. Plus, it also helps you find parking.

 

The Bragging Phrase

Been (via Rough Guides) – How well-travelled are you? Track your globetrotting progress with Been, the app that lets you select all the countries you’ve visited and will calculate what percentage of each continent, and the entire world, you have covered on your travels.

 

…And If You Are Planning A Trip To Disney Land…

My Disney Experience (via Buzzfeed) – With the help of My Disney Experience, you can access real-time wait times, make dining reservations, look up parade showtimes, and more.

What To Expect In 2015

Bluesmart (via Telegraph) – Bluesmart is going to be World’s first smart connected luggage. The app will allow you to lock and unlock your luggage, weigh it, track its location and be notified if you are leaving it behind. You can also charge your phone 6 times over with a built-in battery. No more lost luggage!

The Ultimate Road Trip Across U.S.

The Ultimate Road Trip of U.S.

Randy Olson, a researcher at University of Pennsylvania, was recently challenged by Discovery News contributor Tracy Staedter to compute the optimal road trip across every state in U.S. Conditions:

  1. The trip must make at least one stop in all 48 states in the contiguous U.S.
  2. The trip would only make stops at National Natural Landmarks, National Historic Sites, National Parks, or National Monuments.
  3. The trip must be taken by car and never leave the U.S.

The Result: An epic itinerary with a mix of inner city exploration, must-see historical sites, and beautiful natural landscapes, as shown in the map diagram above.

Click here for the interactive version of the map.

Destinations:

  1. Grand Canyon, AZ
  2. Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
  3. Craters of the Moon National Monument, ID
  4. Yellowstone National Park, WY
  5. Pikes Peak, CO
  6. Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM
  7. The Alamo, TX
  8. The Platt Historic District, OK
  9. Toltec Mounds, AR
  10. Elvis Presley’s Graceland, TN
  11. Vicksburg National Military Park, MS
  12. French Quarter, New Orleans, LA
  13. USS Alabama, AL
  14. Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL
  15. Okefenokee Swamp Park, GA
  16. Fort Sumter National Monument, SC
  17. Lost World Caverns, WV
  18. Wright Brothers National Memorial Visitor Center, NC
  19. Mount Vernon, VA
  20. White House, Washington, DC
  21. Colonial Annapolis Historic District, MD
  22. New Castle Historic District, Delaware
  23. Cape May Historic District, NJ
  24. Liberty Bell, PA
  25. Statue of Liberty, NY
  26. The Mark Twain House & Museum, CT
  27. The Breakers, RI
  28. USS Constitution, MA
  29. Acadia National Park, ME
  30. Mount Washington Hotel, NH
  31. Shelburne Farms, VT
  32. Fox Theater, Detroit, MI
  33. Spring Grove Cemetery, OH
  34. Mammoth Cave National Park, KY
  35. West Baden Springs Hotel, IN
  36. Abraham Lincoln’s Home, IL
  37. Gateway Arch, MO
  38. C. W. Parker Carousel Museum, KS
  39. Terrace Hill Governor’s Mansion, IA
  40. Taliesin, WI
  41. Fort Snelling, MN
  42. Ashfall Fossil Bed, NE
  43. Mount Rushmore, SD
  44. Fort Union Trading Post, ND
  45. Glacier National Park, MT
  46. Hanford Site, WA
  47. Columbia River Highway, OR
  48. San Francisco Cable Cars, CA
  49. San Andreas Fault, CA
  50. Hoover Dam, NV

Why was Randy selected for the challenge? Well, he’s the dude who developed the algorithm for most efficiently finding Waldo in the Where’s Waldo series. Yep, you heard me.

Read more about your optimal trip across U.S. here.

via The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe

If you are a road traveler, you many also want to consider investing in National Geographic’s gigantic Travel Guide Drives of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Most Spectacular Trips. This book sits on my center table as we speak. Not just for decor. This book successfully made 6 of my road trips possible in the last two years. No kidding! Good investment!

Or…

Conde Nast Traveler recently published The 5 Most Spectacular National Park Road Trips, which include:

Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park, Montana

Blue Ridge Parkway to Shenandoah National Park, North Carolina

Blue Ridge Parkway to Shenandoah National Park, North Carolina

Badlands National Park, SD

Badlands National Park, SD

Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia National Park, Maine

…and more…

Get more information here.

Have I convinced you enough to pack your bags and set yourself off on a road journey?!!

If so, well, make sure to Travel with Style… 😉