Archive | December, 2013

Alaskan Cruising without the Cruise Ship

Alaska Marine Highway

An Alaska Marine Highway ferry

No roads lead to Juneau.

Flanked by mountains peaks and the Gastineau Channel, Alaska’s capital is one of numerous cities and towns in the state that can be reached only by air or water. We flew in from Anchorage and departed by boat, the first leg of our trip along a portion of the Inside Passage, a waterway extending from Alaska to Puget Sound.

Our ride wasn’t one of the fancy, massive cruise ships docked in downtown Juneau’s harbor. Instead we made like locals and hopped aboard a more modest mode of transport to cruise the remote waters. A public ferry system operates along what is known as the Alaska Marine Highway, the only marine route in the U.S. to be dubbed a “National Scenic Byway” and “All American Road.”

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Mendenhall Glacier

Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska

Seward may have a “drive up glacier,” but I’m wagering Juneau is one of the few places on earth with a glacier served by public transportation. And that was great news for us, having just returned our rental car in Anchorage.

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Merry Christmas from Coast to Coast

Merry Christmas from New York City to San Diego

Photo locations (from left to right) Crystal Pier San Diego, Radio City Music Hall NYC, Pacific Beach SD, NYC Subway, Rockefeller Center NYC, NY Stock Exchange.

Best of the Blog: 2013’s Top 5

Kilauea Lava Flow at Night

Earlier this week we started counting down our ten most popular posts of the prior year. Today we finish with the year’s best five.

5) The Upside of Travel Planning

Spring European Travel Plan

We discover yet another way in which the clichéd and seemingly travel-wise advice to “go with the flow” fails us.

4) Pele Puts Out

Hike Across Hawaiian Lava Flow

It’s one of the most awe-inspiring sights we’ve ever seen: molten lava flowing into the Pacific Ocean. From our front-row seats near the edge of a cliff, we watched in wonder as Pele, the volcano goddess of the ancient Hawaiians, performed spectacularly.

3) That Old Black Magic

Voodoo Cock and Balls Doughnut

Yes, of course I measured it.

A Portland confectioner has us under its spell.

2) Are the Childless Selfish

The Childfree Life Time Magazine Cover

We take a bit of a detour from our regular travel musings to delve deeply into a thorny lifestyle question. Are we selfish for not having children?

1) Why We Won’t Travel to North Korea

North Korean Painting of Kim Il Sung

2013 witnessed the death of our namesake ambition. We won’t be visiting everywhere once, after all.

We started wondering whether everywhere on earth was really worthy of our tourist dollars in a post titled Rethinking Everywhere. That article received enough of a response to earn a place of its own on this year’s Best of List. But it was soon eclipsed by our deep dive into the ethics of traveling to one place in particular: North Korea.

Yaks at Blue Heron Cheese Company in Oregon

Best of the Blog: 2013’s Top 10

Big Sur California

Big Sur, California

With 2013 coming to a close it’s once again time for our annual retrospective. As with last year’s Best Of selections, we’ve combed through our statistics from the past year to find the posts you read and shared most often. And similar to 2012, the results are an eclectic mix of opinion pieces, travel stories, advice columns and photo essays (you’ll find links to the original articles in each of the headings below.)

Needless to say, 2013 was a great year. Here’s looking forward to an even better 2014.

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