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Book Review – Readers Digest Off the Beaten Path

readers digest off the beaten path cover

I know everyone of us has had a time when someone arrived to pick us up and came early or, worse yet, we were running late. Then there were the times neighbors stopped by with us still in the shower. We instructed the kids to invite visitors into the living room and have them sit down. Hopefully they occupied and entertained themselves until we appeared.

We had used table books that reflected our own personal taste as part of the decor. Such books meant for casual perusal are rich in beautiful photos and brief descriptions. Their one drawback is weight, hence their name.

I just put a new one on my coffee table. It’s called Off the Beaten Path. It is a practical source of information complete with up-to-date state maps of 1,000+ scenic and interesting places to visit. It scores high on graphics. It even has a reference list of seasonal events to help maximize planning. It makes its reader want to get up, go out, and go see the U. S. A.

Reader’s Digest Off the Beaten Path is an great way to research destinations in every part of America–continental, Alaska, and Hawaii. See in living color not black and white undervisited, must-see destinations. The book has a lot of tips for frugal travelers who want to go beyond tried and true tourist traps. In fact entries come with contact information including a website and telephone number to make planning easy.

Years ago hubby and I drove across the U. S. and saw many of the sights listed. I can still hear giggles and laughter at the Strasburg Rail Road, the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, and the National Toy Train Museum. How can I ever forget the tasty delights of Holmes County Amish Country, Ohio, or Amish Acres, Indiana? Traveling into the South Dakota Badlands was a stark contrast to the rolling landscapes of adjoining Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa. Those places and more are all in this book, and every one of them deserves a look-see.

I was curious about ?what would be listed for California. I’ve been there several times and will be there again. Those miles from Oregon to Mexico are a scenic wonderland. A drive southward through the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, the Mojave River Valley, the Joshua Tree National Park, and Torrey Pines State Park and State Beach encompasses harbor, desert, and coastal life. This variety is the draw to satisfy every taste, and this book records it all.

I wanted to reference the Florida entries. It seems as if I am always going to or coming from there. I am familiar with the Merrit Island, the Canaveral Seashore, the Biscayne and, of course, the Everglades. However, if I hadn’t flipped pages, I would never have found a bigger picture. I ?definitely am pencilling Big Cat Rescue in Tampa and the Phosphate Museum in Mulberry in my next itinerary.

I had to look up New Jersey. The Delaware Water Gap, Sandy Hook, Battleship New Jersey, Island Beach and so, so many more places stood out. I should not have dismissed it so quickly. Shame on me for taking it for granted. ?I never realized how much there is around my home state.

I am now using this book ?to scope out Kentucky. It is a given that my curiosity will bring me to an authentic Shaker community in Bluegrass Country. I’m making my reservations for where prehistoric woolly mammoths once roamed. Tickets are on order for a tour the world’s longest cave system. ?This book led me to all of them and more.

Off the Beaten Path is one ?hardcover book sure to ? become a travel classic. The revised edition came out March 9, 2009 and is available in good bookstores everywhere. It retails for $35 and can be purchased online and in bookstores. You know that is cheaper than a travel agent who wants to decide for you.

OFF THE BEATEN PATH
Published by Reader?s Digest Trade Publishing
Publication Date: March 30, 2009
Hardcover/$35.00 USA
ISBN: 978-0-7621-0794-0
384 pages
Trim Size: 10 1/4? and 10 1/4?
Over 300 full-color photos and illustrations

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