It appeared for a while that Venice was going to ban huge cruise ships from sailing down the Grand Canal. The wake of those ships isn’t doing the delicate underpinnings of Venice’s homes any favors. Then the rule got postponed, and now the government is requesting a study to find whether perhaps another canal might a better route. I say a study is the political way of tabling the motion, and that all large ships should be kept out of the lagoon.
In New York City, the days of taking aflightseeing helicopter around Manhattan may be coming to an end if one senator gets his way.
Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey joined local officials from both sides of the Hudson River to call for a ban on tourist helicopter flights due to concerns over excessive noise and public safety. A sightseeing helicopter and a small aircraft collided in 2009, killing nine people.
Another crash in 2011 killed an Australian tourist.
For some places, such as Venice, tourism is their lifeblood. It’s imperative they protect the goose that’s laying the golden eggs.
It’s unlikely the Griswalds would have taken the time to drive to Wally World these days.
Why? Well, July is the prime vacation month of the year, and in 1976, nine million Americans took a week off in July. Nine million. This July only seven million Americans took a week off in July. And there are 60 million more of us now than in 1976.
It’s not that we’re taking a bunch of shorter vacations. Americans are taking fewer days off overall—among developed countries we’re a laggard. We’re the only country that doesn’t have vacation time mandated by law; French workers receive 31 days off a year. By law.
The average American gets 14 days off a year from work but only uses 10 of them, though some surveys suggest that number is more like 4.1 days. It’s called vacation deficit disorder. Make this Labor Day the day you change that.
Yesterday I spoke approvingly of wines being produced in the area of Middleburg, VA, located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains about an hour’s drive from Washington, DC. That’s hunt country, but it’s also a great jumping off point for what is called a “journey through hallowed ground.”
Journey Through Hallowed Ground is actually a non-profit organization that has put together an ideal driving tour through Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia that includes a multitude of important Revolutionary and Civil War battlefields as well as the homes and birthplaces of—get this—nine US presidents.
You know about Thomas Jefferson and, Monticello. You know about the battlefields of Gettysburg and Bull Run. But there is so much more fascinating history embedded in the towns and hills of the Hallowed Ground route. This is a trip ideal for history buffs or parents with kids of learning age.
Check out a National Geographic book called Journey Through Hallowed Ground, or call the folks who will be happy to help you plan an impactful trip. Visit HallowedGround.org.
Each of these 50 united states makes wine, and I’ve tasted examples from maybe 15 of them. Some OK, some not so OK. But I was pleasantly surprised to sample some wine from Virginia recently, and I’d like to commend it to you and also suggest that Virginia wine country can make for an interesting trip.
I remember when a couple of wineries in Virginia were just beginning to turn grapes into wine a few decades ago. But while doing a radio show recently from the lovely Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg, I learned how rapidly the local wine industry has matured.
I stopped by perhaps the most modern and striking winery in the state, the Boxwood Winery (pictured) in Middleburg. Unusually, Boxwood grows all its own grapes and turns out a rose and three red wines using the traditional grapes of Bordeaux; I took home the just-released, 2012 “Boxwood” that I found luscious. The winery is very visitor friendly as is nearby Greenhill Winery that makes a robust Meritage blend called “Philosophy” that would show well against a Bordeaux.
Tomorrow: More about visiting this gorgeous, hilly country in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains that ought to be on your bucket list.
If you ever board a flight and find your seatmate pulling out an e-cigarette, you’re most likely within your rights to ask a flight attendant to halt the “vaping.” This, despite a claim on a website called “Electronic Cigarette Consumer Reviews” that suggest it’s OK to smoke an e-cigarette aloft if you’re sneaky about it.
“Vaping” ought to be as verboten as regular smoking on an airplane, I think, and most major airlines agree. But despite a move years ago by the Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration to issue a blanket rule, the agencies tossed the question to airlines.
Today most if not all US airlines ban the smoking of e-cigarettes, though some pro-smoking web sites such as BluCigs.com suggests you ask each airline. To its credit, the site also suggests your ask your seatmates if they mind, adding that perhaps when they learn more about e-cigs, they’ll decide to join the club.
You’re permitted to carry your e-cig paraphernalia in your carry-on baggage, as long as you comply with the three-ounce rule for liquids. One pro-e-sig site says you might be able to get away with smoking in a lavatory, but then adds, “But we didn’t tell you that.”
Right. Because vaping can set off an airplane lavatory smoke detector. Why the FAA can’t issue a firm rule is beyond me.