Tag Archives: travel

The Moon Travel Guides and Places I’ve Loved

Cover image for Moon Travel Guide, New York City.

Not too long ago, I came across the Moon travel guides while searching for information on Quebec City in our catalogue. A quick Google search led me to the guides’ about us page, which presents a perspective on travel writing that’s off the beaten path, shall we say. The area of ethical travel is a burgeoning one, and I was aware of the growing discourse on traveling responsibly and sustainably but had never come across a series of guides published by one of the five major book publishers in North America (Hachette Book Group) in this vein.

It turns out the Moon guides started in California in the 1970s as an independent publication with humble ‘Xeroxed’ pages. Now, they publish hefty tomes with advice for patronizing local businesses, making the most of the outdoors, strategizing to maximize time spent, and how to focus on sustainability. They also make sure that each author of a particular guide either lives in the places they write about or has spent a significant amount of time in that location. With all this in mind, I thought I would share some of the guides I’ve used and some that I would have used if I’d known they’d existed, all in the hopes that I may inspire you to do your own ethical travelling this summer!

New York City

I have travelled to the metropolitan goliath that is New York City twice now. I enjoyed each of my visits greatly, although sensory overload is an understatement when it comes to the streets of Manhattan. That being said, the level of cuisine, theatre, art, and any other experience you can think of within those 59 square kilometres is unparalleled. I recommend seeing a show on Broadway or off — sometimes the most interesting plays are being shown outside of the mainstream — and finding a local restaurant that is completely unique to the area. To give an example, after attending a particularly entertaining and smart production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center of New York City, I convinced my mother to walk a good six or seven blocks out of our way to a restaurant in the West Village. We also caught a glimpse of both Jerry O’Connell and Sigourney Weaver that night after the play had ended, in case that’s of interest. The restaurant was called L’Artusi, and it has impressively survived the devastation that the pandemic brought to the hospitality business in general. Its specialty is simple: modern Italian dishes, excellently prepared and seasoned with an eye for detail. I remember we walked up to the doors, inlaid with a glass panel through which we could spy a dark dining room and flickering candle light. For a moment, we were worried it was closed, but then we pushed open the door to be greeted by friendly staff. There was room for us after all in the dim ambiance. It was a lovely meal.

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Literary Locations You Can Visit! (Or Just Read About)

Inspired by Alyssia’s post Literary Homes You Can Buy! (Or Just Visit), my recent vacation where I toured historical sites, and the summer travel season, I thought I’d bring you a post on literary locations you can visit. Though it won’t be through any such means as a magic wardrobe, that doesn’t mean it can’t be just as fantastical!

Cover of The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien

We’ll start this list off with two epics, and being a biased fan, we’ll begin with my favourite world: Middle Earth.

Most people know that the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies were filmed in New Zealand and that, besides the incredible bigatures, much of the stunning scenery we see on screen are straight shots of actual locations. So I’m here to recommend three lesser known places than Matamata, NZ (home to the Shire) to visit.

Moseley Bog, Birmingham, UK served as Tolkien’s inspiration for the Old Forest, a place that might be more familiar to book fans than movie fans. In the books, it abutted Buckland—ancestral home to Merry Brandybuck—and was full of living, angry trees and a curious (and much debated) character named Tom Bombadil.

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Love and Travel

Photo of Santorini, GreeceFor the last few months, many people, even the most avid readers, have been having trouble picking up a book and getting through more than a few pages before their minds start to wander. My colleague Kasey wrote about this recently and I can certainly relate.

One way that I have been coping with the anxiety of these uncertain times, besides my weekend stress baking, is reading more romance novels. Romance is often considered an escape. It tends to be about regular people living their lives, and you know there will be a happy ending, whether it’s happily ever after or happy for now. There’s something comforting about that, and even the predictability of the story lines can be reassuring – you know what’s likely to happen but you get invested in the characters and you continue the story to its satisfying conclusion. Continue reading