Destination: Alabama

Six Cities to Explore Martin Luther King’s History

Lorraine Hotel National Civil Rights Museum Photo by Victor Chapa, via Flickr (Creative Commons)

From Atlanta to Washington, D.C., Larry Bleiberg highlights the must-see places where the civil rights leader lived and made history

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Trip Planning: Museums on Twitter

Trip Planning: Museums on Twitter Photo by biskuit via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by biskuit via Flickr (Creative Commons)

The experiment: ignore various, er, discussions over whether Twitter is good, distracting, or evil and find other ways to use it to enhance future travel experiences and planning. Since I tend to like museums big, small, and flat-out odd, I figured I would see what some U.S. museums are doing with it.

I’ll admit, I didn’t use the most scientific of methods. I searched Twitter for the term “museum” and, click by click by click, signed up for the first couple dozen on the list.

The information started to drip, drab, and, in some cases, flow in. Philadelphia’s Mutter Museum, famous for its jars of medical oddities, was (and I love this!) offering free health screenings (@MutterMuseum); Northport, Alabama’s Kentuck Museum (@KentuckMuseum) wanted you to put its April 24 poetry festival on your calendar; and Baltimore’s Walters Museum (@walters_museum) offered up a behind-the-scenes photo of an intern working on a Roman sarcophagus and an invitation to its college night with “mash-up DJ artists, tours, & more!”

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State-by-State Home Improvement

bottles Photo by Jenna Schnuer.
At the Treasures & Trash Barn, Searsport, Maine. Photo by Jenna Schnuer.

Yeah, there are a few things here and there from places far, far away but, looking around my apartment, I realized that most of my art/knickknacks/stuff was hauled home in my carry-on, checked baggage or the trunk of a rental car from a trip to one of the 50. OK, I shipped the bear lamp home. This is some of it ...

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Movie Tourism: ‘An Obsessively Ridiculous, Embarrassing, Empty, and Needy Exercise’?

Movie Tourism: ‘An Obsessively Ridiculous, Embarrassing, Empty, and Needy Exercise’? Photo by kennymatic via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by Eva Holland

I’ve been thinking lately about the motivations behind movie tourism—not the “Wow, New Zealand sure looked beautiful in that elf movie” variety, but the literal, “X was filmed here” brand of movie-related travel. What is it that prompts people to run up the steps, Rocky-style, in Philadelphia, or to slide into a booth at New York’s Katz’s Deli and gigglingly declare, “I’ll have what she’s having”?

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No. 19: “Hunting Mister Heartbreak” by Jonathan Raban

To mark our five-year anniversary, we’re counting down the top 30 travel books of all time, adding a new title each day this month.
Published: 1990
Territory covered: The United States
Like a modern-day Alexis de Tocqueville, Jonathan Raban has traveled the length and breadth of the United States, observing Americans with the keen eye of a foreigner. His book Hunting Mister Heartbreak traverses the pathways of American immigration from late 19th-century Ellis Island to late 20th-century Seattle. In the book, Raban fully inhabits each place he visits, even borrowing an old black labrador named Gypsy in Alabama to feel more at home among the locals. He investigates whether a foreigner can truly become an American. In the end Raban realizes that one can adopt American ways but can never become completely American. And he seems quite relieved about that.

No. 30: “A Turn in the South” by V.S. Naipaul

To mark our five-year anniversary, we’re counting down the top 30 travel books of all time, adding a new title each day this month.
Published: 1989
Territory covered: The American South
In deceptively simple prose conveying complex insights, the great novelist and travel writer V.S. Naipaul penetrates what may be the most impenetrable region of the United States. And he would seem to be the perfect chronicler of the place: a man who feels he doesn’t belong anywhere amidst people who feel they don’t belong anywhere else. Each of the seven chapters is devoted to a city or town—Atlanta, Charleston, Tallahassee, Tuskegee—and Naipaul is often helped in his understanding of each by a long-time resident who patiently, sagely, shows him around. Telling observations from the author are interspersed with long passages of reported speech. His almost ornithological fascination with spotting a “redneck” is balanced by his steadfast determination to look beyond the stereotypes. The last chapter, on North Carolina tobacco culture, is a masterpiece of meticulous reporting and illuminating reflection.

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