A Guide to the Most Interesting Places to Travel

a close up of a globe
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I’m surprised I didn’t know about Atlas Obscura sooner. As someone who loves discovering giant pencils in downtown Denver, Dinosaurs fighting in the Civil War and a lifesize foam replica of Stonehenge in the Shenandoah, and other unique, strange, and fascinating sites, Atlas Obscura is right up my alley!

a stone structure with a row of rocks
Foamhenge in Natural Bridge, VA

And now they have a book, Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders which will probably rival my previous favorite — Off the Tourist Trail.

a book next to a map

The book offers insights and pictures(!!) into over 700 strange and wonderful places around the world. From the online description:

Talk about a bucket list: here are natural wonders—the dazzling glowworm caves in New Zealand, or a baobob tree in South Africa that’s so large it has a pub inside where 15 people can drink comfortably. Architectural marvels, including the M.C. Escher-like stepwells in India. Mind-boggling events, like the Baby Jumping Festival in Spain, where men dressed as devils literally vault over rows of squirming infants. Not to mention the Great Stalacpipe Organ in Virginia, Turkmenistan’s 40-year hole of fire called the Gates of Hell, a graveyard for decommissioned ships on the coast of Bangladesh, eccentric bone museums in Italy, or a weather-forecasting invention that was powered by leeches, still on display in Devon, England.

All sounds pretty cool — except for the Great Stalacpipe Organ in Luray Caverns which is actually more like a xylophone.

a piano in a cave
Luray Caverns’ Great Stalacpipe Organ

While I won’t necessarily plan a trip just to most of those things (the Glowworm caves are well worth it), I’d love to know about more awesome randomness in the places I visit.

If you haven’t visited the Atlas Obscura website before, check it out. I searched for attractions near me and I have to say was pretty impressed with the suggestions. They nailed the Exorcist Steps in Georgetown, the Deep Throat Parking Garage, and the Darth Vader gargoyle at the Washington National Cathedral and introduced me to a few I hadn’t heard of.

What are the most interesting things near you?

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